Gyms, Health Clubs Roll Out Welcome Mats

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Gym memberships in the United States were down 3 percent in 2007, due to the sagging economy, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the good news - it's getting cheaper to keep New Year's resolutions to get into shape.

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The economic downturn has would-be exercisers cutting back on extra costs, fitness centers, health clubs and gyms across the country. So the facilities are offering an array of reduced-price deals for new, current and former members looking to tone up, the newspaper reported.

Bally Total Fitness, for example, is offering a free guest pass for two weeks, while Gold's Gym is offering free enrollment. The Times said that even specialty outfit L.A. Boxing is trying to punch-in new members with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Joe Moore, chief executive of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a fitness trade group that represents more than 9,100 for-profit health and fitness facilities in 78 countries, told the newspaper that consumers should ask managers at independent gyms about cost-cutting promotions and savings.

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