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Most people hear “yoga mat” and feel that it is something that is used only during yoga. The truth is, if you lead an active lifestyle and exercise at home or in the gym, having a yoga mat is a good decision. However, you should choose a mat that is useful for the activities that you want to take part in. Doing so will be of benefit to you in more ways than you may imagine.
Benefits of How To Pick a Yoga Mat
One of the biggest reasons to use a yoga mat when you are working out is comfort. These mats provide you with a layer of protection or padding so that you are not on the floor. This can also keep you warmer when you are doing exercises. Can you imagine not having achy knees because of a hard floor?
Safety is another advantage. Even if you are working up a sweat, the yoga mat can help you stay firmly in place. Just think about what would happen if your hands were supporting you on a slick gym floor. Your hands could slip, which will throw off your balance.
Mats are also more sanitary because you are not required to share it with anyone. Even if the gym you go to has a floor mat to give you stability and comfort, you still have to share it with others who have sweated, coughed, etc. With your own personal yoga mat, you are the only one touching your space.
When doing yoga, you can end up in a lot of positions that rely on stability. These mats are designed for it and keep you stable no matter how complex your body’s position may be. It also works well for other types of workouts.
Less joint pain is the one thing we enjoy the most. The extra cushion will make it easier on elbows, knees, ankles, and more. This can be especially helpful when you are doing warmups, tumbles, etc.
What to Look for When Pick a Yoga Mat
For you to gain the most benefits from a mat, you first need to make sure that you will choose the right option for you. Here are a few things you need to look for before buying.
Thickness: The most comfortable mats are those that are a little thicker. You can choose yoga mats that are as little as 1/8-inch thick or up to 1-inch thick. How thick you need it will maybe depend on what you plan to do with it. A thicker mat with more cushion may be less ideal for aerobic workouts, but better for positional comfort.
Material: The right material can matter in some situations. For instance, if you tend to sweat a lot or have certain allergies, one mat material may easily be better than another. PVC is perhaps the slickest, but it can be the most durable according to some as well. TPE is also commonly used for yoga mats because it is recyclable, but it can lack durability. Eco-friendly mats are those that have natural rubber. Which do you want? You will have to use your personal preferences to know which is the best material for your needs.
Strength: Most people feel that getting a year of use out of a mat is enough, because after that time you may want to change to a different one either way. Other people feel that more life is better. Depending on your preferences, you should choose the one that you feel will perform the longest.
Price: Yoga mats are available in a broad range of prices. Some of the higher-quality mats come with great warranties, which can make it worth it. However, if it something you don’t plan to use often, choosing a cheaper option may be best.
Footing: A mat is not going to be useful if you do not feel that you can safely stand on it without losing traction. Choose a mat that other reviewers say doesn’t become too slick when it gets a little wet. However, it may need to be a little less grip-y if you need to slide, turn, or scoot when you are using it. You have to find the right line between slick-ness and not too slick for your way of working out.
How to Maintain Your Yoga Mat
Yoga mats are always going to get dirty. You may sweat on it, leave footprints, and of course leave oils on it from just using it. Look for a yoga mat that is easy to clean. Most of the time you can easily clean them with a little soap and water. You may also opt to use Lysol or something similar to ensure it stays germ-free.
Our recommendation is that you wash your mat at least one time each weak to remove dirt and grime. It will also remove micro-organisms that may cause foul odors to form. Then you will want to allow it to dry fully before storing it if you want to prevent musky smells and mold formation.
Yoga Mats Comparison
If you are searching for a good-sized mat with handles for portability to the gym or your most favorite relaxation spot, we like the looks of the BalanceFrom GoYoga mat the most. It allows you to take it outside for early morning workouts because of the never slick covering on both sides. It is also covered by a warranty to ensure you are happy with it. When you are done for the day, you can easily roll it up, Velcro the handles, and take it with you.
A slightly thicker mat option is the Retrospec Solana, which is BPA-free. You can choose up to 1-inch thick. However, some people do not like the prints on it and may feel that it lacks durability.
The Manduka PRO is an impressive-looking mat that is made to be heavy-duty. The downside for it is that it may become slick if you use it when wet, even though it promises that it isn’t slick. This proves that you have to pay close attention to the mat you choose.