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Containing Fitness Center Noise

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By Nathan Sevener


There are two acoustical issues associated with fitness centers. One is the transmission of impact noise caused by weights and heavy objects being dropped. The other is transmission of airborne noise from instructors and music. Typically, neither is an issue when the fitness center is the sole occupant of the building, but when there are other tenants, noise complaints frequently arise.

Over the past 9 months, Soundscape Engineering has consulted on these issues for 21 fitness centers, either during design or after they are operational.


The two issues are distinctly different, and different approaches are required to contain the noise. Containing the impact vibration produced when weights are dropped on the floor or when people run on treadmills requires incorporating a means of vibration isolation beneath the machines or the floor. This could be rubber pads, rubber athletic mats, floated wood floors, or in some circumstances, floated concrete floors. The decision on what product to use for vibration isolation depends on the tenant adjacencies, frequency of impacts, construction of the building, and stiffness of the structural floor beneath the gym.