How to choose the best exercise mat that fits your needs perfectly?

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It’s time to devote our attention to equipment, that can either improve or ruin your workout.

Choosing the best exercise mat might not seem like a difficult quest, but definitely, there are some tips I wish someone told me before!

My recent unpleasant experience will save you from unnecessary stress, hustle, even injuries, so read on, take notes and pick the best exercise mat ever.

[You deserve it, you devoted exerciser, you!]

 


 

Why is it important to pick the best exercise mat for yourself?

The very base of your exercise routine is a mat you’re going to use (hopefully) every day or at least often.

Honestly, I never thought that picking up the best exercise mat could be so complex. Until recently, I had only two criteria:

its price and what color is it.

I was uninformed, clearly.

So, my first exercise mat was really cheap (around 15$) and it was as green as a grass (reminded me of nature). That wasn’t my best purchase ever.

You see, I do yoga/Five Tibetan Rites every single day.

And after just a month, that poor cheap fellow looked like this (note that I’m not a heavy giant, on the contrary, 48kg to be precise):

dsc_0059

One lesson learned there: investing in a quality material mat, pays off.

I’ve felt the difference myself between a lousy and a perfect yoga mat and believe me, not only does it make exercising more enjoyable, but it can also save you from injuries, pain, and a lot of stress too.

 


Here’s a chance for you to learn from my most recent epic failure. 🙂

My most recent epic failure:

Body Sculpture’s Yoga Exercise Mat (review)

Product:  Yoga Exercise Mat, made by Body Sculpture

Dimensions: 173 cm x 61 cm

Thickness: 1/6″ (4mm)

Reliable place to buy: Amazon.com

Price: $59.36 (+ $4.98 shipping)

My rating: poor

 

A couple of days ago, I arrived in Switzerland, planning to spend the next two weeks there (so, that’s roughly 14 workouts to go). As I entered the room… not a carpet in sight, with my mat about 1000km away from me (forgot to pack it in a hurry).

Next morning, it was Sunday and most of the shops were closed, so I did Tibetan Rites directly on the floor, with a huge towel only.

Now, that’s a memory I wish to repress! Hands and feet sweating and trembling, all I could think of was “don’t fall on your face, don’t fall…”. Ever happened to you?

Inpatient, sore and a bit nervous, next day I bought the first exercise mat I saw in the store that looked fine.

Lesson no. 2: do not buy exercise equipment in a hurry!

Respectful of your time, I made a quick list of pros and cons of that mat I bought in a rush.


Pros and cons for Yoga Exercise Mat (by Body Sculpture)

Con 🙁 – It’s rather short for a yoga mat (yes it’s 173cm long, but remember, your head never goes all the way to the edge, so you loose a few cm there. The average length of yoga mats is ~180cm. The difference might seem small, but this alters your experience greatly)

Pro 🙂 – It’s made of durable, quality material. You can use it every single day, twist and turn and press it from all sides without worry

Pro 🙂 – Slippery surfaces are not fun and this mat really grips to the floor perfectly, like glued

Con 🙁 – Boring design (one color on both sides, I got the gray version, kinda depressing). Motivational words are cute, but… meh.

Con 🙁 – Heaviness (not a good travel option)
the best

Con 🙁 – Thickness (only 4 mm, I almost felt that grain of dust underneath it)

Con 🙁 – Price – way too expensive for what you get

 

My overall rating: poor

 

 

Not a well-spent money. Sure, there are some good parts of it, if you need a thin, non-slippery, a bit heavier, durable mat, then this Body Sculpture’s mat would be perfect for you!

(Just because it doesn’t suit me, doesn’t mean that it’s not perfect for someone else. It’s reality.)

Wondering what to search for? How to pick that right mat, among all that seductive ads and flashy names?

Read on:

 


How to choose the best exercise mat that fits your needs perfectly

Certain things you should definitely consider (rest assured that I will consider them in the future too):

1. Durability, quality of the material – you bought the mat and now you want it to last because nobody wants to buy a new yoga mat every month or two (how do I know this? Don’t ask. My empty wallet is still shocked.)

2. Response to sweat and pressure and surely you’ll encounter both during your yoga sessions!;

3. Is it slippery – this one is extremely important because slipping around during balancing or body-weight positions makes extreme sports look like a child game.
Your workout is beneficial, but it should also be enjoyable. Not to mention that a good mat can prevent injuries – you should be sore from that plank, not from battling with your mat;

4. Length and width – the longer the better, but usually ~180cm does the work for most people (depends on one’s height, sure). Bigger width can be helpful sometimes, aim for at least 60-65cm;

5. Thickness – depends on the surface you will exercise on, is it just a plain floor or is it a carpet… Also, it depends on how skinny you are (don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling every vertebra and bone of mine);

6. Design/color – we humans are visual beings – and I know this sounds girly, but it’s important: is the color pleasant, if there’s a motif, do you like it, does it motivate you to exercise, what feeling does it evoke;

7. Heaviness – especially if you consider traveling with it, you should consider how heavy the mat is (~3 pounds (1,3 kg) proved to be alright for me);

8. Last but not the least, price – most of us don’t have or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on sports equipment, but bare in mind that if you buy a good, high-quality exercise mat, it could serve you for months (even years, if you’re not a crazy everyday yogi like me).

 

Summary – criteria for smart mat-choosing:

  1. Durability
  2. Sweat and pressure response
  3. Is it slippery or not
  4. Length and width
  5. Thickness
  6. Design
  7. Weight
  8. Price

Picking from the vast sea of exercise mats (recommendations)

 

There are a lot of options when it comes to exercise mats and the choice is constantly expanding.

Seems like there’s a whole science behind them and based on what I’ve learned (with a bit of pain, but hey, I learned!), I will gladly recommend these:

1. If you’re a frequent traveler like me, you will adore this one!

Product: Khataland YoFoMat – Best Travel Foldable Yoga Mat the best exercise mat

Dimensions: 72″ (183cm) long, 24″ (61cm) wide+ folds up to a large book size (12″x10″x3″)

Thickness: 1/6″ (4mm) thick

Weight: 2.4 pounds (~ 1kg altogether)

Additional: Travel bag

Reliable place to buy: Amazon.com

Price: starting from $39.69, more options on the site

What I like about it, besides everything mentioned:

it’s eco-friendly, comes in nice, bright colors and it has protection from the dirt on the floor (now, that’s neat).

 

2. If you want to go crazy and fully enjoy your workouts on a beautifully designed mat:

Product: The Combo Mat STUDIO VERSION

Dimensions: 70” (178cm) x 24” (60cm)

Thickness: 3.5mm

Weight: 4.1 pounds (~ 1.85kg altogether)

Reliable place to buy: Amazon.com

Price: $68.00 (free shipping)

 

3. Both budget-friendly and high-quality mat:

Product: Yes4All Premium Exercise Yoga Mat (Best Quality in Class)

 

Dimensions: 72″(182cm) x 24” (60cm)

Thickness: 12mm

Weight: 2 pounds (~0.9kg)

Reliable place to buy: Amazon.com

Price: $28.94 (a bit smaller version is ~ $18)

 

Have you found the best exercise mat for yourself? Let us know!

Need more recommendations for smart-buy yoga mats?
Let me know with a comment and your wish shall be fulfilled!

 

More to enjoy:

~ No time for a workout? Try out these invisible exercises, that can be done anywhere, anytime: Workout tricks for busy bees

~ Cast away those cramps with gentle activities: How to exercise while having a period

~ Exercising helps with acne? You’d be surprised!

*** This post contains affiliate links. When you buy a product/service presented in this blog, the cost is the same for you, but I get a small referral fee, that keeps this blog running and growing. I hope that my tips and recommendations will help you make enjoyable purchases! ***

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