Updated: October 6, 2015
Exercise Mat Reviews:When boiled down, all you really need for exercise is a willing attitude. That makes everything else possible; you find the time, or make it, you stop making excuses, and you just do it, to quote Nike. That being said, though, great exercise equipment also helps make a big difference in our preparedness, comfort during activities, safety, motivation, and even results. Exercise mats are particularly important for those doing yoga, Pilates, and other floor-based fitness routines or for those working on hard surfaces, such as hardwood or tile. But how much of a difference can a high quality mat make? It may mean the difference between working out or sitting it out - a very big difference indeed. Here is your guide to finding the best exercise mat for your needs.
Why Is a Great Exercise Mat a Workout Essential?- Exercise equipment mats are important because they provide the padding that will protect your tailbone, knees, and elbows during training; if you've ever tried to do a move like the seal (Pilates), you know that it can hurt when you are performing it on the bare floor. Again, a great mat can mean the difference between completing your routine or leaving essential abdominal, core, and flexibility moves out. Selecting the Best Exercise Mat - To the uninitiated, an exercise mat is an exercise mat. But before you choose one indiscriminately, it is important to take into consideration a few factors:
*The activity for which the mat will be used primarily. This will help you determine the thickness of the mat. Yoga mats, for instance, are thinner than Pilates mats because Pilates movements require more padding for the hips and tailbone, while standing yoga poses may be affected by a thicker mat.
*The portability. You can find interlinking foam or rubber exercise mats to fit over your floor. While great for a home gym, you'd need a more portable option for going to classes or if you need to pack up your "home gym" after each workout.
*Gripping. You don't want to slip and slide all over the floor, unless you're doing it on purpose.
*The size. A six-foot mat is generally a good choice, although longer mats may work better, particularly if you are taller. Make sure the mat is wide enough as well for your personal size and for the types of exercises you will be doing.
*Sweat. For vigorous activity, choose a closed-cell foam mat over an open-cell mat. The closed-cell construction will keep sweat and body oils from being absorbed into the mat.
*The green factor. You can find eco-friendly mats made from jute, tatami, or recycled materials. You may want to consider opting for those made with recycled closed-cell foam mats, which offer more protection for floor exercises. The Harbinger Eco Fit Mat, for example, is made of 100 percent recyclable foam and has a sweat-resistant closed foam construction. It is also 25 percent lighter than traditional foam, making it great to take to class. The price is comparable to other mats in this class at just under $32.
*The other green factor. Exercise floor mats can cost well under $20 or well over $100. Your budget is a major factor, but do get the best quality you can afford for the health and safety of your body. Your back will thank you. And you'll be much more likely to work out again if you're pain-free.
Looking for exercise mat reviews - we found plenty on websites like Pilates.About.com, Epinions, REI, and Amazon. You can find them in stores like Walmart or Target and sporting goods stores. You can browse the best selling exercise mats here.