We live in an age of distraction and noise—and it’s getting worse. Escaping technology’s clamorous demands is one of the reasons why meditation and mindfulness have become popular goals with everyday people.
Mindfulness can be elusive in a gym environment—and that’s a problem. A health club accommodating today’s exercise trends is no refuge from noise pollution. Crashing weights, blaring group-dance soundtracks, screaming trainers, kettlebells slamming to the ground: It all adds up to an aural onslaught that affects the club environment in negative ways.
It’s also unhealthy to members and staff, which is the exact opposite result a health club is supposed to deliver. One study published in the International Journal of Audiology found that many gymgoers turned up their earbud volume so loud to block out background noise that they risked damage to their hearing. Excessive noise can also increase hypertension, worsen sleep problems, harm cardiovascular health, and, of course, damage ears. Dropping a single 45-pound kettlebell can reach noise levels of 80 decibels. Experts say that continued exposure to noise at or above 80-85 decibels over time can cause hearing loss. Some spinning classes have music blaring at levels above 110 decibels.
Noise is only one of the problems. Structure-borne vibrations strong enough to shake walls and make floors tremble can be a major disruption for clubgoers and neighbors. It’s an even more serious problem if your club is in a multi-use building. Other occupants, whether they’re businesses or residents, won’t put up with the disturbances of an excessively noisy gym for long. In fact, lawsuits against health clubs, CrossFit boxes, and boutique facilities are increasing. A few New York facilities have been chased out of their buildings or faced excessive fines. Relocating a club for any reason can kill your business. You want to remain a good neighbor.
You also don’t want to continually replace damaged floors, another consequence of today’s fitness trends. Heavy barbell exercises (e.g. squats and deadlifts), bodyweight training (e.g., burpees, jump rope, gymnastics, martial arts), medicine balls slammed to the ground—the cumulative effect can create tears and punctures in flooring that can be a liability hazard. Regular investments in replacing floor tiles can add up quickly.