General exercise mats can be used for a wide range of purpose like cardio exercises, stretching, crunches, pushups, lunges, and other exercises that require you to be on your belly, back, hands and knees. If you want an exercise mat that's versatile, easy to carry around and provides some padding, then a 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch yoga mat by Gaiam or Manduka is a good option. If you're very sensitive to hard surfaces and need more padding, ProSource makes a 1/2-inch thick, 71-inch long exercise yoga mat that can be easily rolled up. The extra thickness does, however, make it more difficult to do balancing exercises.
Soft cushion mats, often called , are important for any floor exercise such as abdominal work. Placing your hips, knees, tailbone, or spine on a hard floor without proper cushion may cause pain, thereby keeping you from pushing through a difficult part of the workout. General exercise mats are inexpensive but will save you pain and injury in the long run if you use them for crunches, leg lifts, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, or any other exercise that requires you to lie on the floor or be on your knees.
A general purpose exercise mat, which may be used for stretching or floor exercises, is often narrower than pilates mates (around 24 inches), but otherwise about the same size. This type of mat is often covered in vinyl, which makes it easy to clean. This kind of basic mat can also vary quite a bit in size, so the buyer may want to do some shopping around.
There are a number of different options for storing exercise mats, depending on the type of mat one has. Yoga mats are usually thin enough to roll up and carry somewhere. Thicker pilates mats may be too thick to roll up and need to be folded. Some general exercise mats and heavy duty mats are very thick and heavy and depending on their size might just need to be left where they are.
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