Buyer's Guide to Mats
1) Types of mats
Pilates mat: Generally, Pilates mats are much thicker than Yoga mats, between 1.5 and 2.4 cm, and the conventional measurements are from 58-100 cm wide by 140-216 cm long. Pilates mats have a smaller non-slip lower surface to ensure they will not move, while the upper surface slides easily to facilitate exercises. Normally they are made of very firm foam, and so they cannot be rolled up, they can only be folded up.
Yoga mat: Yoga mats are much thinner than Pilates mats, generally they are between 0.3 and 0.5 cm thick. They are designed to grip the floor and avoid injuries, but so that the user can at the same time feel the surface of the floor below them. This is due to the fact that a large amount of Yoga exercises are carried out standing, and so it is necessary to have perfect stability. The size varies between 55-80 cm wide, and 120-180 cm long. In addition, as the mat is very slim and light, it can be rolled up and takes up very little space, making it easy to store and transport. There are yoga mats made of various materials: most are made of plastic or latex foam, but natural fibres are also common, such as jute, bamboo strips and recycled materials, although the best materials are the former because they have a longer life span and can be easily washed.
2) Measurements, colour and design
There are a great variety of designs and colours on the market, so it is a question of finding one that suits you. What is important is the size, as people who are over 1.75 metres tall will need bigger mats.
3) Other characteristics
Depending on the use that you are going to give the mat, some users will have to bear in mind some additional characteristics when choosing one model or another: washable, resistant to humidity, odour, etc. Some high range models even have surfaces that have been treated with antibacterial agents. If the surface where you are going to place the mat is very flat (wood), it is recommendable that the surface be non-slip. And finally, it is a good idea to check whether the product includes a bag or accessories that make it easy to transport and store.