Choosing the Right Exercise Mat - Workout at Home

Many people are turning a spare room or their garage into a mini-gym instead of joining a gym or fitness centre and if you’re about to do just that you will need a good quality exercise mat of some sort.

A proper mat is essential to help guard against injury as it will absorb some amount of impact shock and provide cushioning between you and the floor during the general exercise.

Yoga mat being rolled out

Can I workout on Carpet?
Well, you could, but it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable doing crunches or any other exercise that has a lot of floor contact.

The repetitive motion of exercising on the carpet could result in skin rash or blisters; using a gym mat will prevent this and make exercising much more enjoyable.

Another reason not to exercise on a carpet is that chances are you’ll be in the same place every time, probably in front of the TV following a workout on YouTube! Then before you know it that area of carpet will be flattened and faded and as we all know, replacing a lounge carpet is an expensive game.

Okay, so not Carpet then!
No, it’s not ideal, but remember a smooth floor may cause you to slip when you sweat (or if you spill water) and a hard floor can be tough on your joints - especially if your workout contains jumping or other similar high-impact exercises.

By using a mat, equipment such as a treadmill or exercise bike will help protect your floor from scratches and grease from the equipment.

Choosing the Right Gym Mat:
Although a gym mat is an incredibly versatile accessory, not every mat is suitable for every type of exercise. Depending on the type of training you want to do there are many types to choose from. Having the right gym mat is all part of being in the zone. Gym mats are thick and large; usually at least half an inch thick and about 1 and a half meters long.

A PVC bonded cover makes it easy to keep clean and the anti-slip underside stops the mat moving about. General or classic gym mats are recommended for P.E. and gymnastics. You can get gymnastics mats in the UK from the Eveque website

If you’re looking for a gym mat that’s suitable for children, they have a Super-Lite range which is recommended for playgroups, infant/primary schools as they can be easily handled by young children.

Pilates and Yoga:
For Pilates, it is imperative that the mat is thicker and/or denser than a Yoga mat because of the greater amount of exercises on your back and stomach.

You could use a Yoga mat for Pilates but it won’t be as comfortable. Pilates aims to not only strengthen the body but relax tense muscles too.

In contrast, Yoga has many more standing exercises that require a very thin mat that is better for balance.

Judo and Martial Arts:
High impact thick mats (40mm) are used for Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Sambo, MMA and Muay Thai. Whilst
lesser impact martial arts, such as Karate, tend to choose 30mm mats, which still provide enough protection for participants.

Keeping things clean:
As you’re working out at home, you won’t need to worry too much about the hygiene of sharing mats but of course, it's still important to make sure to remember and clean your mat(s) regularly.

I hope this has given you a bit of help to choose the right gym mat.

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