Fitness Articles

Do You Have the Right Mat for the Job?

An Introduction to Exercise Mats

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Pilates Mats are much thicker than yoga mats. Thickness is important in a Pilates mat because many of the exercises involve lying on your back, sides or stomach. This mat will help cushion your body (and spine) during movements that involve rocking and rolling up from a supine position. Like yoga mats, they have non-slip surfaces that are easily cleaned, and roll up for storage and easy carrying. Provided that your mat is Pilates-specific and a bit thicker than a standard yoga mat, prices start around $30.

You can find a variety of exercise mats from online retailers, at sporting goods stores, and in the fitness sections of most general retail stores. To ensure the effectiveness and safety of your workouts, make sure you're using the right mat for the job.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • On the Grommet I saw an intriguing yoga mat. It had the positions for hands and feet for the poses on the DVD printed on the mat. Made me think maybe I could do two or three if I took long enough... I am the lady that took the Beginner Tai Chi class 5 separate times and never once completed the whole routine. I have no muscle memory and little balance. I was so jealous of the smooth moves of my classmates while I just got more and more tense and goofed up. - 4/10/2015 7:42:27 PM
  • One the Grommet I saw an intriguing yoga mat. It had the positions for hands and feet for the poses on the DVD printed on the mat. Made me think maybe I could do two or three if I took long enough... I am the lady that took the Beginner Tai Chi class 5 spearate times and never once completed the whole routine. I have no muscle memory and little balance. I was so jealous of the smooth moves of my classmates while I just got more and more tense and goofed up. - 4/10/2015 7:41:31 PM
  • Great, useful information! I've done Pilates on a yoga mat, but on a carpeted studio surface. My studio DID provide Pilates-specific mats, but my particular class was a fusion of yoga and Pilates, and so I was comfortable using just my own mat. I heartily agree that straps and blocks are big helps with some yoga for some of us!! Bolsters can also be great for yoga nidra, as well as for opening up the chest area. - 12/18/2011 6:58:26 PM
  • Great article! I think this info needs to get out there. It also should let people know pilates and fitness mats should not double as yoga mats. They're too thick and make balancing poses more difficult ^.^ - 11/10/2011 8:48:00 AM
  • I have never heard of a pilates mat. Whenever I have done pilates in a class we just used yoga mats. How interesting. - 12/10/2009 11:21:06 AM
  • MIZMARPLE
    I have two mats - one is a sticky yoga mat that I use in my stability ball class on a harwood floor. For home use, I have a more cushioned foam mat that I use when I exercise in the bedroom, which is carpeted. It slides around too much on the hardwood floors.

    Even with the mats, I have to use either a pillow, or folded up towel/small blanket when exercising on my back or on my knees, because of arthritis. Neither mat offers enough cushioning for me. - 10/12/2008 2:36:50 PM
  • I really needed this info- have seriously done 'something' to my right hip by NOT using a mat. - 8/22/2008 11:26:39 PM
  • Great article. A mat is basic exercise equipment and used daily, unlike expensive "gadgets" that people buy and don't use. Blocks and a strap are helpful for yoga, too. - 4/21/2008 12:40:17 PM

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