You’ll Be Shocked By What’s In Your Mat!
Here’s a brief review of the chemicals in your exercise mat, why thicker is better, why velcro straps are a pain, and much more.
Ever wonder what that smell is? Confused by plastic vs rubber? How about natural fibers? What’s TPE and PVC? What are phthalates? What’s safe for kids and pets? You’ll be very, very surprised!
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Our colleague Bob Hannum covers all the substances and what’s OK and what’s not! He’s been using mats for 40 years! Plus, a brief list of hard-to-find thicker mats from cheapest to healthiest.
Be informed about your mat!
Everything You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Pilates or Yoga Mat for Home or Class!
Thick or Thin? It Really Matters!
A thin mat is often preferable in yoga for both cushion and grip. BUT…
A thicker mat is best for Pilates – at least 1/2” but 5/8″ or 3/4” is even better. Here’s why.
The less flexible back of a beginner is easily irritated by several Pilates exercises that involve rolling up and down the spine. The tailbone and skin of the lower back are particularly vulnerable. However, this is only temporary until the spine becomes flexible and the core strengthens. Nonetheless, even advanced Pilates students prefer a thicker mat because it provides more cushioning for the many exercises on our side, back, belly and knees…..
Caution! What’s in Your Exercise Mat?
Cheap mats usually contain PVC foam. This substance contains phthalates and other compounds proven harmful to humans, pets and the environment. Particularly keep these away from children. “Phthalate-free” and “PVC-free” mats are now available – click here.
Strong odor from a vinyl or soft plastic product is the “off-gassing” of chemicals. It is the same smell we are so fond of in a new car or a new plastic shower curtain – different smells but the same chemicals. And they’re not good for us! The good news is that these chemicals do not irritate the skin and the off-gassing stops within a few days.
A further caution is that most of these cheap mats are…..
For more of this excellent article – what exactly all these chemicals are, closed vs open cell, why straps aren’t a good idea, natural fibers, cleaning tips, and more – go here.