Exercise mats can make fitness infinitely more enjoyable by making you feel more comfortable and reducing bruising, fatigue and injuries. The right mat helps to prevent you from slipping during movement and also provides support, but mats have different levels of thickness and particular surfaces that make them more suitable to particular activities.
So how can you choose the best mat for you? Here’s a rundown on the perfect exercise mat for your activity:
Martial arts -
Activities that require a lot of movement in a large area and need a high level of support will benefit from thick, interlocking rubber matting. Martial arts training centres usually have these mats because they require a lot of floor work like stretching, and high impact activities like rolling and falling. The mats help to reduce fatigue so participants can train for longer. Plus, they insulate cold floors - which is great news for barefoot martial artists!
Gym and weight training - Rubber gym tiles with a crumbed surface are good for withstanding impact and are ideal for weight training areas. They are slip resistant, easy to install and come with a special backing to hold them in place. Alternatively, interlocking rubber tiles are good for fitness areas that do not require the same amount of support as thick rubber mats but can still benefit from insulation, impact reduction and slip reduction. Tiles are a good option for gyms and fitness centres because they can be individually replaced if damaged and are easily kept clean by sweeping or giving a quick mop with water and mild detergent.
Yoga and Pilates - A single sticky mat is recommended for Yoga because it won’t slide around as you move and is harder for your hands and feet to slip on. These mats tend to be thin to allow for better balance in standing positions. In contrast, Pilates requires thicker mats because there is less of a focus on balance and more on ground exercises. These mats help to support your back and joints throughout exercises. In fact, you might find that you’re not as sore the next day.