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How to Exercise Quietly in an Apartment

Updated on April 30, 2015


If you're living in an apartment unit above the ground floor, you may run into some difficulty exercising without disturbing your downstairs neighbor. Unless the unit below is empty or occupied by someone who really doesn't care what happens in the room above, you probably want to avoid jumping up and down as hard as possible when exercising. Certainly, some amount of noise is just an inevitable part of living in an apartment complex, but no one wants to deal with an irate neighbor. Fortunately, it's still possible to get a good workout with these conditions if you use a little creative to modify your exercise routine.

Mr. Fluffykins practices quiet exercise by doing yoga.  Imaged edited by author.
Mr. Fluffykins practices quiet exercise by doing yoga. Imaged edited by author. | Source

Embrace Gentle Exercises

If you do them carefully, some exercises will hardly make any noticeable noise. To avoid making extra noise during your workouts, you'll need to skip doing a lot of heavy cardiovascular exercises like aerobics videos or dancing wildly to music. You will also want to pass on jump rope, running in place, jumping jacks, and other high-impact activities, unless your apartment is well insulated. There are some home exercises that don't require a lot of bouncing, including yoga, pilates and weight-lifting. To reduce excess noise, try exercising on spare bits of carpet, rugs or old exercise mats. These materials may help absorb some of the noise and motion from your movements.

Use the Right Equipment

Many exercise machines are built to prevent a lot of bouncing and noise. Stationary bicycles are generally the most quiet as the motion required to use them is very fluid and gentle. Most treadmills are usually fairly quiet too, as long as you're not bouncing too much. Rowing machines and elliptical machines are also safe bets. Wii Fit and other exercise video games can work too, especially if you pass on the really bouncy exercises.

Build Your Strength

A well-rounded exercise program includes plenty of strength training. If you stick to cardio exercises that don't involve your entire body, your muscles won't get stronger. Fortunately, strength training usually doesn't require a lot of up and down motion of your legs. For example, with just a pair of dumbbells, you can tone your arms without making any noise in the apartment below you. Having more muscles in your body means that you will burn more calories each day, even when you're just sitting around in your office chair or watching your favorite television show.

Choose the Right Location

Some locations in your apartment may work better for producing less noise than others. Avoid exercising in areas where a downstairs neighbor is likely to be annoyed by a disturbance, such as the bedroom or living room. Exercising in your kitchen or even the bathroom may seem awkward, but it can work. Just be sure to mind the fridge and the stove.

Modify the Exercise

If you have a favorite exercise video that includes plenty of bouncing and jumping, you can still use the video if you modify it a bit. While you watch these videos, focus on exercising your arms instead of legs. You can stand in place or just rock on your heels gently as you perform the other moves. Some videos, such as dance videos, are less likely to work in this case. Yoga videos, on the other hand, require little to no adjustment to make them quieter.

Ask Permission, Not Forgiveness

If you have a good relationship with your downstairs neighbor, you can try talking to them about your exercise habits. Find out if there's a good time when your neighbor is gone every day so you can exercise freely without disturbing anyone. If your neighbor has a consistent work schedule, you can try adjusting your own schedule so you have time to work out without causing a problem. Or, just ask if they mind a bit of noise for 30 minutes a day during reasonable hours of the day. Sometimes people just appreciate knowing the cause of the noise and won't get upset about it. People are less likely to get annoyed if they know when to expect clamor to start and end.

If you don't know your neighbor or aren't comfortable talking to them, ask your landlord for assistance. He or she might be willing to talk to your neighbor for you.


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Ask Forgiveness, Not Permission

Alternatively, you can just go ahead with your normal exercise routine and see if you get any complaints. This is not the nicest route, and could possibly end you up in trouble if your neighbor chooses to report you to the landlord without talking to you first. Proceed with caution. If you do this, be sure to adhere to general etiquette rules for apartment living. This includes:

  • Don't exercise late at night. In most complexes, residents expect neighboring units to be quiet after 10PM.
  • Avoid exercising in your bedroom if possible. Your neighbor may sleep during the day and work at night.
  • Keep the sound down on your exercises videos. Don't give your neighbors something else to be annoyed about.

Time it Right

If you happen to notice your neighbor leaving their apartment, take advantage of their absence and exercise as hard as you want while they're gone. However, this may lead to a fairly short workout if your neighbor is only walking around the block or making a quick trip to the nearby grocery store.

A basic, no-frills gym typical to larger apartment complexes.
A basic, no-frills gym typical to larger apartment complexes. | Source

If Everything Else Fails...

If nothing else is working for you, you have a few, less than desirable options. For example, a gym membership will save you from any unfortunate confrontations with your neighbor. Outdoor exercise is another great option when the weather cooperates. Finally, the next time you move to a new apartment, consider looking for a ground-floor unit or an apartment complex that includes a gym. Most apartment complexes with gyms have only the basic machines, but you won't have to worry about bothering anyone with your exercise habits.


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    • cactusbythesea profile image

      cactusbythesea 5 years ago from Seattle

      @eHealer, thank you for the feedback! I love that picture too!

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I love that beautiful cat doing "Dog Facing Forward" move. Very interesting info with good tips. Thank you.