Many of us have just ventured online to buy a yoga mat without really realising the kind of mat that we need. Well, there is nothing wrong in buying mats online but its important to understand that your purchase should add value to your well-being.

With umpteen companies selling yoga mats, one can be fraught with confusion as to how to make a right choice when it comes to yoga mats. That’s where this article helps.

Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time fitness enthusiast, a top quality exercise mat ensures a smooth workout session. The three main features of mats to consider are: durability, comfort and size.

The most important factor that decides your choice of mat is the type of workout you plan to do and how often you train. So whether you are doing light stretches or yoga or intensive work out, there is a perfect mat for you out there.

Not all mats are suitable for all types of workout and an incorrectly chosen mat can seriously impair the result of exercise. To prevent this, buy a fitness mat best suited for your workout by keeping these tips in mind.

  • Level of workout
    When you are an absolute beginner, the grip and thickness are essential, as there is a high possibility of falling while working out or practicing a sport. Choose a mat of high quality that accommodates longer hours of use, when you exercise at medium intensity. If you are doing rigorous workout, you require stability and plenty of grip. Consider a thickly cushioned mat for extra comfort.
  • Purpose of choosing a specific mat
    You must decide the main purpose of use before choosing an exercise mat. Do you plan to take your mat to the gym? Get a compact one that easily folds up. A large mat that covers more space might be more suitable for a home gym. Fitness mats come in different shapes and sizes to suit different types of workout, like yoga mats, gym mats, professional mats, foam mats, multi-purpose mats, etc. 
  • Thickness
    Mats vary in thickness and are usually measured in millimetres/mm. If a mat is too thin, certain poses can be hard on your knees and joints. Thick mats are mostly preferred when looking for durability and comfort. At a beginner level, one should go for a thicker mat that has a sturdy grip. You can choose a mat between 8 to 12 mm thickness, depending upon how intensive your workout is. A good durable mat has a thickness of 10mm and more. Usually, mats that are of 10mm and more in thickness are suitable for all kinds of yoga and exercise.
  • Easy maintenance and hygiene
    Exercise or yoga is guaranteed to make you sweat, which can lead to a potentially slippery situation. A good professional mat is designed to have high dirt and water absorbency rate, ensuring continuous hygiene and cleanliness. A professional mat does not absorb any sweat which maintains proper hygiene while doing any exercise. It can be easily cleaned by mop and detergent.
  • Size
    Selecting the right size of yoga mat depends on two factors- first how tall you are and how much padding you want. The standard size of the yoga mat is 6 feet X 2 feet. But if you have broad shoulders, then you need a wide mat of 7 feet X 2.5 feet. So choose a mat according to your body type. When you are sure of the thickness and size that works best for you, you could consider the added uses some exercise mats come with, like handles for easy carrying or a non-skid texture to help with slipping. You will also definitely want a mat that is moisture-resistant for easy cleaning, or you might like a waterproof mat for a more gratifying workout.

    By Vaibhav Somani, Director, Gravolite. Gravolite was founded in 1980 and is the leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance competitive sports flooring for multiple sports.