In a world where time is money, every hour, minute, and second matters. The value of our time constantly fluctuates, and we have to maximize it. Mats have come to help us deal with this post-modern stress. They allow us to perform ancient practices such as yoga, or simple exercise if we are not so spiritual.
The best mats are waiting for you to revitalize your mental and physical health. Whether you go to a yoga class, the gym, or simply work out in your living room, these accessories are always there when you decide to dedicate a moment to your health and personal introspection. If you aren't quite familiar with mats just yet, sit back and relax while reading our guide!
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Mats
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Mats
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- The type of mat you should choose depends on the activity you want to do. You can find four main types of mats: yoga mats, exercise mats, acupressure mats, and inflatable mats. Study each one carefully before making a decision based on your needs.
- If you opt for a yoga mat, it is essential that it be non-slip. This will allow it to adhere better to the floor so you can perform asanas (or yoga poses) knowing that you won't slip and hurt yourself in the process.
- We will delve into the main shopping criteria for mats in the final section of our guide. The manufacturing material, for instance, is vital. The components used to make a mat ultimately determine its durability, as well as how easy it is to clean and to transport.
Our Selection: The Best Mats
When it comes to practicing sports or devoting yourself to the physical and mental discipline of yoga, you need to have the right accessories to make your practice easier and more fruitful. A mat will allow you to do any exercise – from yoga postures to simple push-ups – much more easily. In the section below, you will discover our very own selection of the best mats currently available on the market:
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Mats
Mats have become a staple accessory in the practice of yoga and many other types of exercise. Our world is often driven by materialism, and free time has become a real luxury for many of us. However, mats are gaining popularity as we witness a rising trend to care for our bodies and minds. Before you abandon yourself to new practices, you can learn more about these accessories in the following section.
Why are mats so popular?
In the past, they were made of straw or other low-resistance materials such as cotton. However, technological advances and the desire to improve of many manufacturers have led the best mats to be available in a wide variety of materials: polyester, several rubbers, microfibers, or plastics such as PVC and POE.
What are the advantages of using a mat?
What kind of mats are currently on the market?
- Yoga mats: A classic among classics, the yoga mat focuses on the practice of this age-old spiritual and physical discipline. Nowadays, many models also feature lines of asanas on the edges to help beginners perform specific basic postures. Their main features are a reduced thickness and a tremendous anti-slip capacity.
- Exercise mats: They tend to be a little thicker and a little less flexible, since they are designed for the intense practice of classic exercises such as push-ups or situps, for example. That being said, the difference between yoga and exercise mats is often negligible.
- Acupressure mats: The aim of these accessories is to exert pressure on certain points of the body in search of muscle relaxation and improved blood flow. They feature hundreds of pressure points that can help you treat a wide variety of pains and aches, in particular in the back, neck, and shoulder areas.
- Inflatable mats: While you can use some models to practice yoga or even work out, this isn't their intended purpose. As you may have seen in the product description of our favorite inflatable mat, it is a sort of portable bed ideal for mountain and camping activities.
Do acupressure mats really work?
- During the first 15 minutes of use: Acupressure points come into contact with the skin. This stimulates the body, which begins to release oxytocin and endorphins to help achieve a feeling of general well-being and relaxation.
- Between 20 and 30 minutes of use: You can fee a mild to medium analgesic effect that contributes to reducing your stress levels. Tensions begin to disappear, and your blood flow improves as you feel a pleasant drowsiness.
- Over 45 minutes of use: The analgesic properties intensify with prolonged use. Pains and inflammations you suffer from tend to disappear almost entirely. You are now experiencing acupressure in all its glory!
How should I clean my mat?
If the model you purchase is made from materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), machine washing is sufficient. However, your washing machine can damage it if it is manufactured with other compounds, such as rubber. The old-fashioned manual method is often the best one, as it is suitable for any type of material. Here is what you can do to keep your mat spotless:
- Get a soft-bristle brush or a good chamois cloth.
- Use soap and warm water. Apply this to your cleaning tool and scrub the mat.
- You should then hang the mat in a cool place. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.
How should I set up my mat?
- Make sure that the ground where you want to place the mat is free of elements that could break or damage it during your exercises.
- Avoid setting the mat on a slippery slope. While these accessories are designed to adhere powerfully to the ground, they are not foolproof either.
- Make sure that the side with anti-slip properties is in contact with the floor. This is particularly important if both sides of your mat are the same color.
- If your model has an aluminum side, consider the weather when you are using it outside. If you are cold, you should have the aluminum facing up. Otherwise, do the opposite; this will give you a greater refreshing feeling.
Nowadays, staying fit has become essential. Our bodies are often exposed to sedentary work and demand movement, which will always have a positive impact on our mental health. Before you start doing yoga, working out, or simply resting on your mat, let's analyze some key shopping criteria. They will help you choose the right model for your needs:
The grip is especially important for yoga and exercise mats. When you work out on this accessory, the last thing you want is to feel unstable or slip and hurt yourself. Make sure that the model you want is non-slip. As you can imagine, this feature is quite irrelevant for inflatable mats.
Type of Mat
The type of mat you should buy will be determined by the activity you want to practice. As we discussed earlier, you can find four primary kinds on the market – some of which are more versatile than others. We have prepared the following table to help you figure out which type is the right one for you based on your goals:
|If you want to||You should use|
|Practice yoga as a beginner||A yoga mat with asana lines|
|Practice yoga at a more advanced level||A more durable yoga mat|
|Treat back, shoulder, or neck pain||An acupressure mat|
|Perform exercises like push-ups, situps, etc.||An exercise mat|
|A versatile bed to rest during mountain activities or on camping trips||An inflatable mat|
The materials your mat is made with are essential, too. They will determine not only its durability, but also its ease of use and, above all, the comfort of your skin. If you are buying an acupressure mat, for instance, make sure that the points are hypoallergenic. In addition, the materials should be easy to clean.
Yogis and athletes sometimes like to take their practice outside of their homes. If this is your case, you should opt for a sturdy-yet-light mat that you can easily carry around. When it comes to inflatable mats, portability is non-negotiable. You certainly don't want a cumbersome model to take on your camping trips or to the mountains.
Our last criterion is size. This doesn't focus exclusively on the length and width, which tend to vary little from one model to the next. Thickness is actually the key to this aspect. Depending on this factor, your mat will be able to support more or less weight. Besides, this will strongly influence your feeling of comfort.
In an increasingly chaotic world, it is becoming indispensable to take more time to care for ourselves. Mats are a great investment that will allow you to exercise in any room at home or the gym. Inflatable mats will also accompany you on all your outdoor activities.
But you can't simply buy the first mat you see; you have to think about what you want it for. This will determine the type you need, but don't forget to evaluate other factors such as the manufacturing materials and size. In order to give the right healthy boost to your life, it is important that you make an informed decision for a successful purchase.
We hope that our guide has contributed to your quest for the best mat on the market. If that's the case, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media!
(Source of featured image: Davydov: 109162697/ 123rf.com)