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New law in Illinois limits length of gym contracts

Gyms can’t sign people to contracts longer than one year.

MOLINE, Illinois  --  A new 2019 law regarding gym memberships has been implemented as many people resolve to join gyms and spend more time working out.

Related: Fitness enthusiasts share their secrets to sticking with your new year’s resolutions

One new law limits how long gyms can sign people to contracts. Now, gyms can't sign people to contracts longer than one year.  Before this new law, owner of Top Shape Gym, Matt Fischer, said there was no limit.

"You could have a creation of a commitment for as long as you wanted," Fischer said. "In some cases three, five, seven years, or even lifetime memberships."

"A lot of times people make decisions based on how they are feeling that day," Top Shape Gym manager Christopher Mays said. "Getting roped in to something for two to three years just seems kind of extensive."

An Illinois law from the 1960s capped gym membership fees at $2,500 a year. Starting in 2019, the cap is now completely lifted. Another new law bans payment plans lasting longer than three years. Fischer says this new law benefits the consumer and gym owners.

"It makes the pricing easier," Fischer said. "You can walk into a gym and say "I want a gym membership" and have all of those things included. On the owner's side, we don't have to manage all those different types of memberships or added amenities, like tanning and towel service."

"We are here for people's health," Fischer said. "The last thing we want to do is ruin their credit."

Click here for a full list of new Illinois laws in 2019.