A treadmill on the upper floor may not be your best option.
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If you have limited space on your main floor or you're living in an apartment or condo, an upper floor is a logical place to use your treadmill. You can use a treadmill upstairs, but it may be a less than ideal choice. Consider the implications of using a treadmill upstairs before setting up your exercise space.
While it is perfectly acceptable to use a treadmill upstairs, consider the noise factor before you make a final decision.
Find Some Room
The upper floor of your house can be a tempting spot to place your treadmill if you have a spare bedroom or office on the upper level, particularly if you don't have a basement or space on the main floor. Structurally, there's no reason to not use a treadmill on the upper level of a house. The upstairs floors of a house will safely support the weight of a treadmill, even with the added impact of your running.
Identify Possible Problems
Although using a treadmill upstairs won't cause damage to the structure of your house, it can be disturbing to others in your home. According to engineering professor Dan Dolan of Washington State University, using a treadmill upstairs can cause noise and vibration throughout the house. Dolan explains that this is because houses have wooden frames which are flexible. The problem is worse in larger houses with fewer walls on the lower level.
Avoid Excess Noise
To test an upstairs room you can perform a footfall test. Stand up on your tip-toes and allow your heels to fall to the floor. Do this every few steps throughout the room. Have another person listen in adjacent rooms and downstairs. If the level of noise is disturbing, chances are a treadmill will cause too much noise for your liking. In this case you'll be better off placing your treadmill in the basement.
Consider Your Neighbors
Using a treadmill in a condo or apartment can be disturbing to the neighbors below you. Michael A. Newman of the engineering firm McNeil, Ramsay Inc., explains that in a condo the vibrations from a treadmill can be amplified as they travel through the columns of the building. This can cause the noise to increase from 55 or 60 decibels to 110 decibels. A train, by comparison, produces about 100 decibels. Before using a treadmill in a condo or apartment, consult your tenants' association or landlord.
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