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Teach your treadmill to shut up

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Unless you live on the ground floor, installing a treadmill in your apartment is just slightly less provocative, neighbor-wise, than putting in a basketball court.

“As Paul Simon says, ‘One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor,’” notes property manager Paul Gottsegen.   “It is practically impossible to isolate the noise and vibration to such a degree as not to be a nuisance to neighbors.  Apartment floors are simply not capable of handling the load.”

But not all floors, neighbors and treadmills are created equal--and depending on yours, you might just get away with it.

Here’s what you need to know:

1.  Buy a treadmill with a shock absorbing system    “These not only reduce the pounding to your body, but reduce the impact to the floor,” advises property manager Michael Wolfe.

2.  Insulate:  The right insulation beneath your machine can help significantly, especially in prewar buildings and in modern buildings with concrete slabs between floors.

Property manager Thomas Usztoke recommends putting down thick carpeting and padding, topped by a ½”-thick rubber mat beneath the full length and width of a treadmill.

“It’s important not to use anything too soft, as that will not reduce noise and will make the treadmill unstable,” says Wolfe.

3.  Run by the rules:  Even you’re not prohibited from owning a treadmill altogether (“Many wood-joisted buildings may not allow them,” says Wolfe), there may be rules prohibiting certain activities at certain hours or regulating how long you can use your treadmill at any one time.

4.  Get to know your neighbors:   Before you start pounding away at 7 am, it would be helpful to know whether your machine is located above your neighbor’s bedroom (or nursery) versus a home office likely to be deserted at that hour.  

Still fielding complaints?  Discuss whether there are any hours or days when using your treadmill is less likely to be a problem, or whether your treadmill might be better located in another spot.

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