How To Choose the Right Yoga Mat and Exercise Mat

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Price is usually the first thing people look at when buying yoga mats and exercise mats.  Price is not always the best measure of a yoga mats quality.  Besides price you also want to consider the material, thickness of the mat, ease of portability.  Here are some tips for choosing the best yoga mat and exercise mat for at home workouts and going to the gym.

Material

Yoga mats and exercise mats are made from a variety of different materials including pvc, cotton, jute, natural rubber, and recycled rubber. When choosing your yoga/exercise mat material, there are three things you want to take into consideration: durability, eco-friendliness, and stickiness. If you are allergic to latex, you will want to avoid anything made of rubber.  Mats made of PVC are generally the most durable and sticky.  PVC material will not need to be replaced very often (keeping it out of the landfills in the first place).  Mats with more texture provide you with more grip while working out.  You want to find a yoga mat or exercise mat that has a non sticky grip and traction to keep your hands and feet from slipping.

Thickness

After you have decided on the type of material that works best for you and your workouts, the next thing to consider when choosing a yoga mat or exercise mat is the thickness. Standard yoga/exercise mats are around 1/8″ thick.   There are also super thin mats on the market that are 1/16″ and extra thick mats (1/4″ ) are also available.  Thin mats offer no real protection between you and the ground.  Thicker mats will give you better joint protection, reduces impact, provides less physical pain for contact with a hard surface, and  are generally more comfortable.  Some thicker mats are made of softer material and will tear or crumble while wearing shoes.  Finding a thick mat that offers protection, stability, and durability was a challenge.

Ease of Portability

If you’re practicing yoga at a studio or want to take your exercise mat to the gym, portability will be important consideration when choosing a yoga mat or exercise mat . The two main things to keep in mind when determining a mat’s portability are the size (rolled up and not in use) and the weight of the mat. Lightweight mats that are under 5 lbs will be much easier to carry.  Most manufacturers also offer yoga mat straps.  The straps should keep the mat rolled tight and will also assist you in stretching and yoga poses.

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