In a randomized field experiment, we show that a low-cost intervention, weekly email reminders, increases the weekly exercising frequency of gym members by 13%, with the effect being larger for class training (19%) than for free training (11%). We find that nearly all types of individuals benefit from the reminders (e.g., students, nonstudents, women, men, new members, recurring members), and this effect persists in a three-month posttreatment period. Furthermore, the increase in class visits is partly driven by an increase in the number of bookings of gym classes and a slight decrease in the share of bookings that are canceled. Limited attention and habit formation can best explain these results. In contrast to the increase in gym attendance, we do not find any effect on the duration and renewal of membership contracts.
Habla, Wolfgang and Paul Muller (2021), Experimental evidence of limited attention at the gym, Experimental Economics. Download