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Protecting yourself as well as defining a place to workout, exercise mats are essential for a home gym to ensure you're working out in safety. There are a number of different types of gym mats available to you including solid rubber heavy duty mats, yoga or Pilates mats that are non-slip, general purpose mats and some with special features like being moisture resistant or antibacterial.
If you are building a gym at home then you will need to invest in some exercise mats both to protect your floor and also to protect your body. If you don’t use an exercise mat then your flooring will get affected by wear and tear from exercise and if you have ever performed sit ups on a wooden floor you will know how painful this can be on your back.
Depending on how you want to use your mats there are actually different types that you should consider buying.
Pilates can be performed very safely and comfortably at home. A Pilates mat will tend to be thicker and firmer than normal mats and are therefore well suited to the Pilates routines where you are aiming to push off the mat as opposed to bouncing off it! This thickness is the essential difference between a yoga and a Pilates mat
Yoga mats tend to be thinner than general work out mats. They do however come in various thicknesses and materials. Yoga is all about holding certain poses so getting the right cushioning is crucial. PVC and rubber can be a popular choice as they will provide traction to help hold that pose. These materials are also fairly easy to keep clean. Also do look for ones that are non slip.
General work out mats
By this we mean mats that you can perform sit ups on, press ups or squats. In fact before you buy a mat for your general fitness needs do think about what exactly you want to do on it. If you are doing an ab workout and need to protect your back you may want a mat with more thickness.
Also do consider the material very carefully particularly if you know you are going to sweat a lot, you will then need to look for a mat that can be easily wiped or cleaned. PVC, latex and rubber are very popular choices. Also, since you will be using a lot of mats barefoot do check that you are comfortable with the material your feet will be on.
Other considerations should be the size of the mat itself. There is no point buying a huge mat that you simply can’t store. If space is an issue consider buying a roll up mat or even a mat that comes with a bag that can easily be put away. Also do get a mat that will accommodate your full body when you are lying down. Sound a bit obvious but an easy thing to overlook!
If you simply put your exercise equipment straight onto the floor at home you will risk damaging the floor and also not providing yourself a with a non slip surface to keep yourself safe whilst exercising. For equipment you have a range of options including rubber mats and cushion tiles. What you choose will depend on the space you have, your budget and whether you want your home gym to be mobile or not.