Pilates Mats ~ The Essential Accessory
Pilates mats are the essential accessory home and studio Pilates mat work. The yoga or Pilates mat provides a non-slip surface adding stability to your positions and movements. It prevents your feet, hands and elbows from slipping and sliding. The friction that the workout mat provides helps deepen your stretch without straining to hold slipping limbs. Pilates mats provide a warm insulation and a clean surface between you and the floor.
Even if you are just learning the basics of Pilates, a high quality exercise mat will do more to enhance your practice than any other accessory you can buy. Although most Pilates studios provide mats, most people prefer to purchase and use their own mat in their workouts. You are assured of cleanliness and less exposure to 'stranger' germs. After you have practiced Pilates for a while, you will find you become familiar with how your mat feels and responds to various positions. This allows you to keep more focus on your body throughout your workout.
Pilates Mats should be comfortable
A Pilates mat should be comfortableand comfort is based on a mat's thickness and firmness. Many yoga and Pilates mats are too thin to provide enough cushion. Other mats are too thickoften too soft to provide enough support. A good Pilates or yoga mat should be thick enough (ideally from 1/8" to 1/4") and soft enough to provide grip, yet firm enough to provide support and cushion.
A high quality Yoga or Pilates mat will conform around your hands and feet to provide a secure grip. It should provide the same amount of grip even when you sweat and should not slide around on the floor as you move. Your mat should also remain flat on the floor and not roll up at the ends. Mats with square corners will tend to curl up after awhile.
Eco-friendly Pilates Mats
The latest trends in yoga and Pilates mats include patterns or designs and eco-friendly mats made of materials that biodegrade readily. Some eco-friendly workout mats are made with renewable natural materials and eliminate toxic components such as latex and phthalates.
Looking after your Pilates Mat
Maintenance of your Pilates mat consists of nothing more than occasionally wiping it down with clean cloth dampened with warm water. Any mat that is machine washable is probably too thin and therefore, won't meet the cushion or grip criteria which are essential in a good yoga mat.
Pilates mats will wear with use and you will want to replace yours occasionally to make sure you maintain maximum support and stability as you do your exercises. Keep your mat out of the landfillcheck out Gaiam's site for great ideas contributed by customers on how to reuse your Pilates mat .
You'll find mats that also include built-in straps or find a mat bag that makes transporting your Pilates mat and accessories convenient and easy. Keep all yur gear together and you'll be ready to do your Pilates workout anywhere...anytime! The right tools are absolutely essential to a successful and rewarding Yoga or Pilates practice. Although all Pilates and Yoga accessories provide some enhancement to your experience, by far, your most important yoga tool is your mat.
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