Choosing Exercise Fitness Mats
What Activity Do You Do?



Use this exercise fitness mats guide to get a better idea of what to look for, before you buy your mat.

There are loads of different types of mats, all with specific purposes. I don't think you'd be impressed if you spent money on a mat, only to discover that it's not suitable for the activity that you're doing.

We have listed and reviewed some of the most well known types of mats from anti fatigue mats, yoga mats, floor protector mats and exercise mats for both heavy and light exercises.

So let's find out what to look for in a mat, before you part with that cash!



Pilates Exercise Mats

  • Thickness.. 1.5cm (5/8") to 1.9cm (3/4").
  • Length.. 140cm (55") (very short) to 216cm (85") (very long).
  • Width.. 58cm (23") to 100cm (39").

    Pilates mats come in folding and roll up styles. The folding mats are much more expensive, much larger and so harder to store and carry. They're usually for more professional use.

    Roll up mats are the more common type, cheaper and easy to store. The best mats have a closed cell construction and are made from TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer). TPE is a fairly new synthetic rubber which is decomposable and has no known allergies.

    A good pilates mat will last a long time, so it's also worth making sure that it is moisture and odour resistant. That means that after each use, all you have to do is gently wipe it clean.

    Another thing to look out for, is if you've got a hard floor surface, then you'll need a mat with some sort of gripping on the under-side. The top-side should be smooth for pilates exercises.



    Yoga Mats

  • Thickness.. 0.3cm (1/8") to 0.6cm (1/4").
  • Length.. 120cm (47") to 190cm (75").
  • Width.. 55cm (22") to 80cm (32").

    Yoga mats are much thinner than their pilates counterparts. This makes them very easy to roll and store, and very light to carry. Again the best mat material is closed cell TPE. With its environmentally friendly aspects, it goes very well with the teachings of yoga.

    The mat should have good gripping on both the under- and top-sides for yoga. This gripping along with the thin material, helps you balance in your yoga positions.

    Some mats are machine washable, most are easily hand washed. The best quality ones are moisture resistant and can be wiped clean.



    General Exercise Fitness Mats

  • Thickness.. 1cm (3/8") to 1.5cm (5/8").
  • Length.. 140cm (55") to 190cm (75").
  • Width.. approx. 58cm (23").

    General purpose mats are good for things like sit-ups, press ups and stretching as part of your warm up and cool down. If you're only going to use your mat for these exercises, then this is your best option.

    These very affordable mats are made from closed cell PVC foam, and are usually vinyl covered making them smooth and easy to clean.



    Heavy Duty Exercise Fitness Mats

  • Thickness.. 1.5cm (5/8") to 2.5cm (1") (or 5cm (2") extra thick).
  • Length.. 122cm (48") to 240cm (94").
  • Width.. 60cm (24") to 122cm (48").

    These large, thick mats are used by health professionals, such as physios, and also in gyms, athletics and gymnastics. The thickness helps in shock absorption, protecting your ankles, knees, spine and neck.

    If you have space in your home, then these mats are very good for use with an exercise (abdominal) ball. There are folding styles, usually with handles. Take in to account that non-folding mats of this size will be very difficult to store, you definitely won't be able to roll them up!

    The cost varies greatly depending on quality and size. The smaller sized 2.5cm (1") thick mats of standard quality foam covered by vinyl, can cost as little as £14 ($27). The largest 2.5cm-5cm (1"-2") thick mats made of dense foam can cost anywhere between £60 ($119) to £135 ($260).



    Floor Protector Mats

  • Thickness.. approx. 0.6cm (1/4").
  • Length.. 122cm (48") to 250cm (98").
  • Width.. approx. 91cm (36").

    These aren't necessarily exercise fitness mats, but have sneaked in here as they're used with your fitness equipment. They should be anti-slip to keep your equipment still, as well as protecting your floor.

    Ideally used with treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines. They can also be used with most home fitness equipment as they are very durable. Especially useful when you're using free weights and benches, to prevent scratching the floor.


    Final Word

    Now you have an idea of the basic types of exercise fitness mats, their relative sizes, thickness, and for what they are best used.

    You can be confident to make the best purchase possible. With some due care and careful storage, your exercise fitness mats will be trusty friends for years to come.

    Return to The Fitness Equipment Apparel Guide from Exercise Fitness Mats.
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