With so many mats to choose from, it can be confusing knowing which one is right for you. They come in many different types of material and sizes, with prices that vary significantly. So here are just a few tips and things to consider that will help make that choice a little easier.
Comfort is Key
Above all, protecting your spine, knees and wrists has to be the number one priority, so choosing an extra thick mat which provides additional support and comfort, is a sensible choice for Pilates. Anything over 6mm thick is fine and between 8mm-12mm is ideal.
Thinner mats are suitable for Yoga, but not for Pilates. If the mat is too thin, it will be uncomfortable to perform rolling exercises through the spine. If the mat is too thick, it can make balancing on the mat challenging. If your budget can stretch, purchasing two different thicknesses of mat will give you the option to swap mats between exercises, depending on whether you are doing matwork or standing work.
Size IS Important
Ensure that the overall size of your mat is long and wide enough to support your whole body. Any mat with a length that is less than 1.8m is unlikely to meet this requirement.
Most mats come with a carry bag and handle, which makes them easy to store and transport. If your mat does not come with a carry bag, then it is worth purchasing one, if only to keep your mat clean and retain its shape when not in use. When it comes to hygiene, opting for a smooth surfaced mat will also be easier to wipe clean.
Look for mats that offer a durable, non-slip surface and an under-side that grips to the floor. It should stick to the floor, but not feel sticky on the top side when you stand on it. Mats come in a variety of materials from PVC, rubber and latex as well as other less toxic varieties. PVC mats tend to be sticky, but they are bad for the environment, so look for a natural alternative that is a more environmentally friendly.
Lastly, seek and read customer reviews or testimonials if purchasing your mat online. Learning from others experiences can save you time and money!