While you want your workouts to be challenging, your home workout space should be comfortable and set up for injury-free results. A smartly designed and equipped home gym will help increase your performance and speed up your fitness results. But before you start shopping for gear like dumbbells and kettlebells to power up your exercise routine, you need to get the number one essential: a proper workout mat.
A study notes that a suitable exercise mat should provide grip, balance, and comfort. Tough moves get tougher without the right mat providing support, trainers say, and not having the perfect foundation can cause soreness, and even pain or injury. Plus, the happy-making endorphins released during exercise will significantly reduce if you’re not comfy!
Picking a quality mat is the foundation of a successful training session, and the responsibility of choosing the right one can feel daunting. The huge variety of styles and price points can make it confusing to know what’s the best choice. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the options, but it’s actually really simple. While you do have to take certain factors into account, the best choice really comes down to what type of workouts you’re going to do.
Exercise mat – how to choose the best?
To guide you towards your ideal match, check out this overview of four different types of workout mats.
4 Types of Fitness Mats for Your Perfect At-Home Gym
General exercise mats
These mats are ideal for floor-based bodyweight moves such as push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches. Thanks to their thickness and density, they are shock absorbent and provide cushioning between your body and the floor. Usually made of closed-cell PVC, they are lightweight, portable, and easy to store.
Yoga mats are the thinnest mats since they’re intended for lower impact exercises. They provide a non-slip surface to help support your balance as you flow through your practice. Plus, they can cling firmly to a hard floor surface, increasing the yogi’s stability while holding different poses. Standard yoga mats are manufactured from PVC to allow for flexibility and added grip, but you can also find mats made of natural fibers such as cotton or cork.
Pilates mats are non-slip like yoga mats, although not as sticky. They are thicker, though, as most Pilates moves are performed on the ground. These mats are created to cushion the body as well as provide excellent grip. Some may have a grippy surface on the bottom and a sliding top for a smoother transition between the moves. Pilates mats are firm and usually made with a closed-cell foam structure.
If you are considering weight training, especially with the use of free weights, you may need a rubber mat like you see in a gym to put under your equipment and prevent your floor from damage. Look for a non-slip mat to keep your gear steady and stable while you’re using it. Although you don’t lay on these mats to exercise, they create an ideal surface for general exercises or stretching.
What if you mix up your workout routine with different fitness styles? (Great opportunities here on Daily Burn 365 with diverse workout schedules every week!) In that case, you’ll probably want to arm yourself with a few different exercise mats for the workouts you do most frequently to get the most out of each session.
Once you find that ideal “workout partner,” remember to keep it clean, regularly washing away sweat, dirt, and bacteria. Luckily, most exercise mats have easy-to-clean vinyl covers, so you can wipe it down with a soapy sponge and follow with a clean rinse. You can also buy a specialty mat cleaner for ease. Just spritz and let it dry.
Don’t forget about the mental boost of having a mat that sparks joy! There are nearly infinite designs, colors, and patterns to choose from, so pick one that not only supports you physically, but gives you a mood boost every time you see it. When your home gym is comfortable and functional, you’ll be even more motivated to reach your fitness goals.
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