Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gyms Have Cellphone Rules for Safety, Courtesy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gyms Have Cellphone Rules for Safety, Courtesy

Article excerpt

Jenniffer May, of Mahwah, was recently jogging on the treadmill at Retro Fitness in Paramus when she overheard a man on the elliptical machine behind her carry on an extended cellphone conversation.

Even with her ear buds in, she could hear this man's voice rising over the music blasting from the gym sound system.

She can't recall the content of his conversation, but she's sure of this: "It's never an emergency," said May, 41, wearing black capri spandex and carrying her iPod on a recent night before mounting a treadmill. "It's rude and disrespectful to everyone," added May, who said it's a once-a-month occurrence to be working out near a cellphone abuser.

With the advance of mobile devices that now double as music and video players, gym managers say it's becoming harder to enforce no- cellphone-talking rules.

"It's very hard to monitor," said Chris Rogovich of Metro Athletic Club in Tenafly. "There are a lot of people who bring their phones to watch a movie or TV show, and when the phone rings, they answer," he said. But Rogovich added that it hasn't been a big problem at his $85-a-month club.

Area fitness club managers who have a no-cellphone-talking rule say it's not only out of courtesy for other customers, it's out of safety concerns. Using a phone while working out is dangerous, they say, especially on fast-moving treadmills.

"I've seen people have accidents with cellphones on treadmills," said Michael Padula, owner of Retro Fitness.

Cellphones are prohibited in his gym's theater room, where exercisers can use cardio equipment while watching a movie in the dark on a big screen. But one woman recently drew complaints from nearby customers as she chatted away on her phone during a film. When an employee asked her to put away her phone, she said, "I can do whatever I want," according to Padula. This customer stopped attending the gym, he added. …

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