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Exercise Mats

People are recognizing the benefits of exercise and joining gyms, creating gyms at home, or investing in lifelong fitness routines to live healthier lives. Regardless of the type of exercise, fitness regimen, or sport, an exercise mat is a useful tool to absorb impact and to facilitate easier movement. Considered an essential piece of fitness equipment, these mats protect the body and muscles during a workout.

Why is an exercise mat useful?

These mats enable the body to transition seamlessly to the next position without putting unnecessary pressure on body parts, such as the tailbone, the lower back, and the knees. Certain stretches, yoga poses, and workouts are assisted with the ability to roll up one side of a mat to the desired height.

What are the different exercise mat types?

There is a wide variety of mats tailored to certain fitness regimens. Common examples are the thick mats found in gyms and the thinner ones used in yoga. There are several options when it comes to protecting the body and equipment during any fitness routine at home or in a gym.

  • Yoga mat: A yoga mat is thin by design, at around half an inch thick, to allow portable travel and to assist with specific yoga poses. These are often used for stretching and Pilates, too.
  • Fitness mats: These can come in standard-grade or professional-grade thicknesses based on the type of exercises being performed. Standard fitness mats are suitable for low-impact exercising, like doing crunches or stretching. Professional ones are thicker and suitable for gymnastics, martial arts, and other high-impact sports because of the added shock absorption.
  • Floor protector: These floor mats are designed to protect the floor, be it carpet, wood, or linoleum, from heavy-duty equipment during any exercises.

There are also several sizes for each of these types. You can choose a yoga mat or another similar option that can be rolled up or a mat designed with folding panels, including sloped panels and tri-folds. Others are designed like a puzzle, with several sections capable of interlocking to create any shape and size. Nearly all mats are designed with handles, making them portable solutions once they’ve been rolled or folded up.

What materials are used to make exercise mats?

Almost all exercise mats are made from foam, rubber, PVC, a flexible plastic polymer, and EVA, a highly elastic and strong material similar to rubber. The two most common materials used are foam and rubber.

What should you consider before buying an exercise mat?

  • Grip: Consider the floor where you will exercise whether it’s at home or at a gym. A nonslip mat may be necessary.
  • Frequency: Consider how often you’ll be using the mat and how frequently you will be performing certain exercises. For example, a thicker option would be needed for gymnastics maneuvers.
  • Cleaning: Based on the material, like foam or rubber, the cleaning method will be different. Consider the frequency of use and if the cleaning requirements are suitable for you.
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