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7 Yoga And Exercise Mats To Take Your Home Workouts To The Next Level

18th December 2020

18th December 2020

By Shivraj Bassi

Your living room might not look anything like your favourite yoga studio, but in lockdown, we have to make the best of what we have. 

When gyms and studios are closed, it’s more important than ever to keep up your exercise regime to ensure that your mind and body stays healthy and happy. 

Whether you use a workout mat to practise your vinyasa flow or as a low-impact surface for sit ups, having a good mat can be the difference between smashing your next personal best or lying on the sofa watching Netflix. 

Mats play an important role in exercising. The soft, grippy surface protects your joints, keeps you stable and steady and most importantly of all, means you don’t have to stare at the carpet you forgot to vacuum this week when you’re perfecting your burpee technique. 

The best yoga mat for you will depend on your body, needs and preferences. Do you need something with extra grip? Are you likely to be carrying the mat to the park for a change of scenery? Do you like smooth or textured surfaces?

At Innermost we’re experts on the best kind of exercise mat for your needs, and we’ve sourced some great options for every preference and budget. 

It’s time to give your home gym a makeover. 

Best all-rounder yoga mat

Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat

£65

This bestseller sold out during the first lockdown of 2020, which goes some way to demonstrate just how popular it is. Made of natural latex, it’s soft, lightweight and very, very grippy. It’s easy to store as well as being easy on the eyes. 

Dimensions: 183cm x 62cm wide, 4mm thick.

Most affordable yoga mat

Viavito Leviato 6mm Yoga Mat With Carry Strap
£12.49

If you’re a beginner yogi, on a budget or just want something that will get the job done without being too expensive, this mat is a great choice. It comes in six colours, is 6mm thick so feels pleasantly cushioned and has grip that will hold you securely in downward dog. 

Dimensions: 183cm x 61cm wide, 6mm thick.

Best personalised yoga mat

Personalised Yoga Mat Rainbow Design With Funky Font Initials
£79

Are you the kind of athlete who lives for their Instagram posts? Give your followers something new to talk about with this personalised pastel mat. It’s high quality and completely customisable. One for people who like to lead, not follow. 

Dimensions: 63 cm x 180 cm, 4mm thick

Best exercise mat for grip

Paws Natural Rubber Extreme Grip Yoga
£68

Always find yourself slipping during your workout? This mat is designed to be exceptionally grippy, which is especially useful for hot yoga or HIIT workouts. The alignment printed on the mat is also useful for keeping your form top notch. 

Dimensions: 180 cm x 66 cm, 4 mm thick

Most lightweight yoga mat

Carry Onwards Mat
£48

While no-one is doing much travelling right now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to take your yoga mat to the park for a workout with a change of scenery, or that you won’t want to travel with it in the future. Ultra-portable, it folds up to an unobtrusive square. 

Dimensions: 66cm x 180cm wide, 2mm thick. 

Best eco-friendly yoga mat

B MAT 4mm Everyday Ocean Green
£77

Made with 100% eco-friendly rubber, this mat is both non-toxic and slip-resistant. This mat lets you feel both secure and sustainable. 

Dimensions: 180 cm x 66 cm, 4mm thick

Most comfortable exercise mat

Light Gentle Yoga Mat Club 5mm - Coral
£19.99

For gentle souls, this soft and supportive mat is a comfortable way to get your workout in. Especially effective for gentle yoga practises, it’s also useful if you’re working your way through injuries. 

Dimensions: 185cm x 61cm wide, 5mm thick.

Other Insights

Here's Why You Should Be Foam Rolling Everyday
Unlike Chamillionaire, when we see you rollin’, we’re definitely not hatin’. Foam rolling is becoming more and more widely practiced. But, before incorporating foam rolling into fitness routines, beware of the pitfalls and mistakes that are so commonly made to get the most from foam rolling.  Put simply, foam rolling breaks down fibrous tissue which in turn, boosts circulation and helps relieve tension and pain. This is a great recovery technique, allowing you to train again the next day. What is a foam roller? Firstly, a foam roller is a cylinder of foam (you could say the clue is in the name) that avid gym-goers and exercise lovers utilise to alleviate muscle soreness. Other uses include pain management, flexibility training and knot-busting. The rollers are lightweight, portable and pretty inexpensive if you shop around. They are a great investment to make if you are frequently struggling to get up stairs after a leg day workout. Why do people foam roll? Foam rolling is one of the most gratifying muscle releases there is. We’ve all felt the satisfaction of sore arms and legs feeling eased and relaxed during a rolling session after a hard workout. It hurts so good, sometimes you don’t want to stop. The explanations behind why foam rolling works feels good are hotly contested. While the benefits of it have been claimed to include everything from warming up your muscles to releasing tension to helping you to recover faster after a workout, did you ever pause in your rolling routine to ask how it actually benefits you? Foam roller benefits The benefits of utilising a foam roller are backed up with cold evidence. While there is conclusive scientific research on the subject, it’s limited. A study from  The Sports Medicine Journal discovered that after a session of foam rolling, there was significant alleviation of the impact of exercise.  Another small study published in the Journal of Athletic Training suggested that engaging in foam rolling after you’ve worked out can help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness, which would then in turn boost performance in later workouts. If you still weren't convinced, there’s also evidence from a review in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy that foam rolling can help to promote short-term increases in the range of motion achieved by muscles and can boost flexibility. This translates to you feeling less tight and being able to work out better and more efficiently. Why is foam rolling so effective? One possible explanation for the benefits of foam rolling is the literal warming up of your muscles. The friction from it could help to increase the temperature of your muscles and fascia, which helps to loosen joints and tissues and increase the range of motion. In the same way, foam rolling post-workout increases blood flow to the areas you work on, which can help to speed up recovery time and minimise delayed-onset muscle soreness.  How should I use my foam roller? Less pain, more gain When it comes to utilising foam rollers and rolling techniques, it’s important that when we roll pre-workout, the aim is not to try and sort out any strains or troublesome muscle knots. If we try and roll out painful spots in our muscles before we exercise, then the pain will cause the brain to respond with a protective reflex that reduces muscle performance. Instead, save the self-inflicted, therapeutic muscle torture for post-workout rolling. But remember, even after the workout, do not roll directly on a painful area because it can increase inflammation and inhibits healing. Instead, roll a few inches away from the painful spot first and then, with large, sweeping motions, cover the entire area.  This will feel like a huge wave of relief over the effective area. Speed matters The speed at which you should be using your foam roller differs depending on the time of the roll. For example, when warming up our muscles pre-workout, you should use fast and dynamic rolling techniques in order to wake up our neuromuscular systems. Then after the workout, you should use slower movements in order to flush out toxins and allow our muscles to adapt and relax.   Aim for texture When you’re in the market for your foam roller, go for a roller that can stimulate nerve endings effectively. We recommend that you pick one that is firm and has a textured surface, as the textured surface will reach deeper into the muscle’s myofascial layers than a soft, smooth roller would. In comparison, a smooth, soft roller is the wrong tool for the job. This is because these are not effective in the stimulation of the nerve endings in the muscles. This is detrimental as this stimulation is needed to send proprioceptive messages to our brains. Therefore, smooth rollers are not as good as textured rollers for preparing our brains to control our body’s movements in our workouts.  Go against the grain Variety is the spice of life – so keep the roll routine varied! Try out different speeds and techniques like pivoting which drives the roller deeper and involves more layers of muscle and fascia. Pivoting is done by rocking the edge or tip of the roller back and forth on the target spot, or twisting, like turning a tap on and off, on that spot. Also, most people only roll in the direction of the muscle fibres, but what is stopping us from going against the grain? Try out cross-fibre friction (i.e. rolling across your muscles) to add another aspect to the proprioceptive message sent to the brain. Summary Pre-workout, post-workout and recovery are hugely important – it’s not just your workout that you should be focussing on. Investing your time and energy into the right techniques and the right products is instrumental in the success of your workouts and in the reaching of your fitness goals.  If you’re struggling with your recovery – why not integrate The Recovery Capsules into your routine? References Macgregor, L. J., Fairweather, M. M., Bennett, R. M., & Hunter, A. M. (2018). The effect of foam rolling for three consecutive days on muscular efficiency and range of motion. Sports medicine-open, 4(1), 1-9. Click here. Pearcey, G. E., Bradbury-Squires, D. J., Kawamoto, J. E., Drinkwater, E. J., Behm, D. G., & Button, D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of athletic training, 50(1), 5-13. Click here. Read more
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