rolled yoga mats

How to choose your exercise mat

With so many different types of mats available, it can be tricky to know which one to go with. This guide will help you find the right mat for your workout.

Yoga mats, Pilates mats...there are so many types to choose from. Learn which elements are most important for your workout style: length, material, weight, etc. We’ll help you find the right mat for you.

woman doing Pilates at home on her mat
woman rolling her mat

Types of mats

AEROBIC MATS FOR PILATES AND GENTLE FITNESS

When it comes to Pilates and gentle fitness classes, you will be spending a lot of time in a seated position, on your knees or on your back. That’s why comfort comes first, and the mats used for these activities are generally thicker and more dense. For convenient transport and storage, go for a model that rolls or folds easily.

man holding a yoga pose on his mat

PORTABLE MATS FOR YOGA

Yoga mats are generally longer and thinner than other mats. The most important criteria here is that your mat should be anti-slip—you don’t want to be sliding around while trying to hold a triangle pose or downward facing dog. Still wondering how to choose a yoga mat? Consider the style of yoga you want to do (gentle or dynamic). Into meditation? Choose a thicker mat to ensure comfort throughout your entire session.

woman doing a workout on her mat

WORKOUT MATS FOR WEIGHT TRAINING AND CIRCUIT TRAINING

These mats are heavier than most and are generally not designed to be rolled or folded since they are often fixed on the floor of the training space. They are robust, anti-abrasive and resistant to friction from running shoes. These mats are shock-absorbing, but thin enough to ensure solid footing and prevent injuries. They're perfect for training studios and at-home gyms.

young girl doing a somersault on her mat

GYM MATS FOR KIDS

Perfect for helping kids develop motor skills and coordination, or simply for play time. These mats are generally about 3-6 cm thick and are covered with a resistant coating. Not only are these mats comfortable and safe for kids, they can also usually be folded up to optimize space. You can choose the style that works best for you: squares that fit together like a puzzle, separate rectangular pieces or a one-piece foldable mat. Next, get ready for some family fun time! 

How to choose?

two women doing Pilates on their mats

Type of exercise

Start with these questions: What type of workout will you be doing? Will you be wearing shoes, or not? What level are you at: beginner, intermediate or expert? How often will you be training? Be as realistic with your answers as possible, as these criteria will determine which mat will best suit your needs.

Tip: Pilates and yoga mats are designed to be used with bare feet, while other training mats are more resistant and are made specifically to be used with shoes. 

4 different types of mats

What thickness exercise mat is best?

The more movements you will be doing on the floor, the more comfortable you will want your mat to be. The ideal thickness generally varies between 6 and 15 mm for a Pilates mat. If you are training barefoot, you may want a model that is at least 7 mm thick. Some mats even go up to 20 mm in thickness. The choice is yours! 

Weight

The weight of a mat depends on the materials it is made with. Foam mats are generally quite light, while rubber mats are much heavier. If you’ll be transporting your mat by bike, foot or on public transit, you’ll want one that weighs between 500 g and 1 kg. If you plan to only use your mat at home, this specific criteria may be of less importance to you. 

Length

The length of your mat should correspond to your height, but also to the level of comfort you are looking for. Most mats are between 140-160 cm long. These dimensions are perfect for traditional yoga or Pilates. For taller people, or those who simply want more space to move around, a mat 180-190 cm long may be a good choice.

Tip: a mini 50 cm mat is a minimalist option that will protect just the part of the body that is in contact with the floor. 

man holding a pose on his soft mat

Material

Will you be wearing shoes for your workout? If so, opt for a robust style of mat that will be shock-absorbent and resistant to wear and tear. If you want maximum comfort, go for a foam mat that is both thick and soft. For barefoot workouts, choose an anti-slip mat that offers more grip.

Tip: If you’re worried about slipping on your mat, you can always get a pair of
non-slip socks!

Transport and storage

A light and compact mat is easy to store and transport. You can also get a special bag or strap to make it even easier to take your mat on-the-go.

Tip: combine 500 ml (2 cups) of water, 4 tbsp of white vinegar and 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a spray container. After each workout, spray a bit of the mixture onto your mat and wipe it down with a clean cloth, then let the mat air dry before putting it away in a cool, dry spot. To avoid deforming your mat, be careful not to leave anything on top of it.

woman carrying a domyos foldable mat

Where to buy gym mat?

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