Much Ado About an Exercise Mat!

A mat is a mat is a mat! Think again! A mat is not just a mat; it is what stands between you and injury. Not many of us pay any attention when we are buying an exercise mat for ourselves, be it for our early morning yoga sessions or Pilate or for our children. We all would agree that the best way to prevent injuries while exercising at home or at a gym, is to use Yoga mat exercise mats that support us and protect us from hard surfaces. For home use, we pick up whatever is available at the local store. For bulk buying for gymnasiums, managers usually order from a company that is providing them the best rates. The quality of the exercise mat is, more often than not, ignored because we want to save a little money or because we are not well informed on what to buy. As a result, we may end up exercising on a mat which might do us more harm than good.

So, why is a good exercise mat so important?

I cannot overemphasize the usefulness of a good exercise mat.

Exercising on the wrong type of mat with inadequate cushioning can be very harsh for the body. It can cause physical injuries and lead to various joints to pain. Special care should be taken of our back while exercising because our vertebral column can easily get injured and we could end up with a neck or a back sprain. Such injuries may not limit themselves to a minor sprain and may further lead to serious problems and nerve irritations like lumbago. The length of the exercising mat is also a crucial factor. You would not want to be slipping off it while exercising. Some mats do not absorb perspiration well, greatly increasing the risk of injury through slippage.

There are so many brands available in the market but the most important thing is to find out what a good exercise mat is all about.

A good exercise mat is the key to a safe and satisfying work-out. The exercise surface such as that of a mat should be firm and not hard. It should not rebound much and have great compression and shock absorption qualities. It should have interlocking design for a stronger grip on the under surface to prevent slippage. Thickness of the mat is a key factor as it ensures adequate cushion for your body weight. The mat should be easy to clean and light enough for you to carry around.

So, I take it that I have set you thinking as to what should be the material of the exercise mat.

The ones that are doing the rounds of the market are usually made of synthetic materials like rubber or PVC. You can also find go-green mats made of organic materials. PVC mats are sometimes filled with air to make them better shock absorbers. Foam is very popularly used to make exercise mats. It acts as a good shock absorber, making your exercise regimen a comfortable experience. A medium thickness foam mat is about 5/8 inches in thickness. It grips the under surface rather well. However, for high intensity work- outs, aerobics and martial arts, it is better to go for a 7/8 inch thick heavy duty durable foam mat.

Beginners can use softer gym mats say about two inches thick. Later on, you can progress to something that is one and a half inches to two inches thick and filled with polyethylene to provide better shock absorption. Look for a firm surface that doesn’t rebound much. Vinyl Mats are an ideal choice for the outdoors as they are quite durable. Presently, exercise mats made of natural rubber and jute are becoming more and more popular.

A good mat is the only way to ensure that you don’t harm yourself while trying to achieve your fitness goals. So, now you see why it is important to invest in a good quality mat. It not only enhances the effect of your workout but also makes your exercise routine more enjoyable.