Noise of a Treadmill in an Apartment

Boy running treadmill
A boy running on a treadmill in an apartment. (Image: oneblink-cj/iStock/Getty Images)

Exercising on a treadmill in your own apartment isn't a completely private pastime. The noise of a treadmill travels well beyond your own walls. The vibration of running might jar objects loose in other rooms or cause valued possessions to fall from shelves. To protect your own home and extend courtesy to the neighbors, take some simple precautions that limit the impact of your running.

Location

Placing your treadmill in the center of the workout room causes more noise and vibration than necessary. The center of a suspended floor moves more than the edges of the floor where joists connect with wall plates or foundation sills. The more support you locate beneath the treadmill, the less you'll cause the building to bounce when you run. You'll find the strongest portion of the floor near a corner intersecting a load-bearing exterior wall. Putting the treadmill there reduces creaking and popping in the building's frame.

Setup

Your apartment floor may not present a perfectly level surface for the treadmill's feet. Uneven floors keep one of the treadmill supports in the air unless under pressure. When you run, the treadmill flexes and squeaks, and the misaligned foot taps the floor. Consult your treadmill's manual for advice on fine adjustments and set the machine as perfectly close to four-point contact as possible. Placing a shock-absorbing mat under the treadmill compensates for any small differences. Mats also prevent machine vibration from transmitting to the building's frame with full force.

Adjustments

Since many treadmills require assembly by the new owner, loose fittings could cause noise problems. Check nuts, bolts and screws after you finish the assembly process, and you'll probably find several that need an extra turn. Every time an assembly step completes, the tension on the entire system changes. If you notice new noises when running, check fittings again. A quick test with a wrench can reveal problems you can't spot with the eye. Pay attention to the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer. As lubricant wears away and parts stretch, noise increases. Lubrication and adjustment set things back to normal.

Timing and Technique

Learning your neighbors' routines gives treadmill users one of the best ways to reduce the noise impact on other people in the building. If possible, choose a workout time when close neighbors aren't at home, and don't exercise when others need to sleep. Paying attention to how your feet hit the treadmill belt reduces noise and gives you a better workout. Vertical bouncing and slapping footsteps create unnecessary noise and vibration and also indicate poor running form.

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