Posts Tagged ‘exercise mat’
I am always looking for things to do with my children. Someone once gave me this bit of sage advice, â€œThe hours are long but the years are short.â€ With a 10, 12 and 14 year old, I have experienced this first hand. As any parent can tell you, it seems like once the little people enter your life, if you blink, they age a year.
I remember growing up in a theatrical family, where we were always putting on homemade plays, skits and sketches. The highlight of the show was always me with my headband pretending to work out on my exercise mat and my older sister Tap Dancing with bottle-cap taps, on a cement floor in our garage.
Tap dancing has always been my favorite form of dance; making noise while you slap your feet on the ground, learning a time step, how to shuffle off to Buffalo. I learned to tap when a local high school needed a little kid to tap for a production of Gypsy. Here was something I could do with my kids.
Getting the tap shoes was an expensive but easy process but getting the right surface on which to tap proved a bit more difficult. It had to be portable, with a hard striking surface yet have some give and traction. After experimenting I came up with two, 6â€™x8â€™ plywood floors, covered with a Matlay Dance Floor â€œskinâ€ from MatsMatsMats.com that I secure with vinyl tape which I also got at MatsMatsMats.com. Â Now I have portable, professional looking vinyl dance floor that I can lay down anywhere and give the kidlettes basic tap lessons. My son has had me in for a father/son talent show that had us time stepping in tandem on the flooring. I even had a couple moms ask me where I bought the Marley floor.
All of my kids can now tap better than I, having received lessons at a local dance studio but we all get together and they teach me what they have learned. My wife asked if I could expand the flooring enough to learn ballroom dancing. . .yikes!
Iâ€™m pretty lucky. Iâ€™ve worked for some less than moral companies and at times have had to question my own morality. Sometimes, unfortunately, we have to do what we have to do in life.Â Anyway, my point is itâ€™s nice to work for a company thatâ€™s upfront and stands behind their products. Very rarely do you actually find inexpensive quality. I truly believe that at matsmatsmats.com we are honest and have quality products at great prices.
The only downside is most people (myself included) are quick to voice their opinion when theyâ€™re unsatisfied and rarely do so when they are satisfied. Being that a big part of our job here is customer service, we hear about the rare instances when there are problems and complaints. That kind of thing is expected to some degree, especially with the volume of business we do. Â I mean, accidents happen, especially when you package and ship as much as we do.
When I see positive feedback, itâ€™s usually on the website and itâ€™s our customers talking about how great our customer service is (it really is!) or how fast they got their product.Â Much like a puppy thatâ€™s been adopted, I donâ€™t usually hear anything about how well our product is doing- until last week.Â I had a customer call and order a supply of our SoftFoot Pilates Mat.Â The owner of â€˜Synergyâ€™, aÂ Pilates Studio in Cookeville, TN, just celebrated their 6 year anniversary and needed mats to accommodate their growing clientele.
As I was hanging up with her she let me know that the set she currently has, the ones that were purchased from us over six years ago, and the ones sheâ€™s buying now arenâ€™t even to replace those mats. Â I was informed that her Pilates mat is used all day, every day and she hasnâ€™t found a better exercise mat or a more economical mat.Â That information really is good to know.Â Iâ€™ve always been confident in telling our customers how great our products are, but actually hearing it from you guys reassures me that we not only have a large yoga mat and Pilates mat selection, but our prices and quality are really good too!
So after a few months of being a bum I decided it was time to hop on my treadmill machine again.Â I was so glad that I remembered where I put my treadmill mat!Â I love my treadmill because in my heart of hearts Iâ€™m a couch potato. I LOVE television and since my machine is parked in front of my TV I can get on in and zone out. Well, yesterday I hopped on and after just a 45 minute workout I felt good, until I sat down for a minute and tried getting back up. Ouch.
Being the 28 year old baby I am, I called my dad because of course I was dying and automatically assume the worst. Also my father is an international Kick boxing champion and avid gym rat (a gene he did NOT pass to me)Â so I figured heâ€™d have a quick fix.Â I quickly learned I didnâ€™t stretch properly.Â The only thing quick about that phone call was how quick he was to start lecturing me. There are many benefits of stretching you might want to consider before jumping into a workout. You really need to take care of your muscles and blah blah blahâ€¦ I stopped listening. Everybody knows parents are always wrong and they just want to make life harder for us (says the 15 year old inside of me).Â Â I, being stubborn (a gene he DID pass to me) looked up facts on my own and was less than surprised to see my dad actually knows a thing or two.
The first and most important benefit to gain from stretching is relieving of pain!Â Â Not just to relieve pain, but to prevent the tightness that causes it. I read that another important benefit of stretching is that it releases a lubricating substance from the cartilage within your joints; which allows your joints to move more smoothly, preserving the cartilage in your joints and keeping your bones from scraping. I also learned that stretching can improve the circulation of water and nutrients through your body, which slows the aging process. Studies have also shown that stretching can lengthen muscles and, by doing so, can improve your posture.Â At this point I’m thinking an all purpose exercise mat would be an ideal gift to myself.
Hereâ€™s the kicker. All these benefits are achievable, even if you donâ€™t regularly work out. You can experience a healthier, more comfortable day, just by stretching.
In order for stretching to be effective, youâ€™ll need to warm up your muscles first. A simple ten minute walk or jog will make a huge difference. Remember, cold muscles are tighter, and will make you have a harder and more uncomfortable time stretching. If you donâ€™t want to go out into the heat or rain, orÂ have allergies,Â or you just want to stay in front of the TV, a stretching strap is a pretty affordable way to help you stretch indoors.
However, there are times when stretching should be avoided. Donâ€™t stretch before intense workout sessions like sprinting or other high-intensity cardio training. Â Below are some tips if you decide to use a strap:
-Use a yoga strap for deep stretching, especially sitting poses that stretch the legs. Take the yoga strap in your hands and place the yoga strap around the instep of your feet. Pull gently on the strap with both hands for resistance as you bend forward at the waist. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat four to six times.For an advanced, deeper stretch, shorten the strap by wrapping it around your hands a few times. Place the strap around the instep of your feet and pull gently on the strap with both hands for resistance. Touch your nose to your knee (if you are flexible enough).This stretch will release tension in your hamstrings, calves and quadriceps.
-Use a yoga strap in standing poses to stretch your legs and hips, and to help improve your balance. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Plant your feet firmly into the exercise mat. Look straight ahead and focus on the wall in front of you. Lift your right leg gently and place the strap around the instep of your right foot. Pull gently on the strap with both hands as you lift your right leg off the ground. Stretch leg straight. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat 4-6 times (alternate each side). For an advanced, deeper stretch, shorten the strap by wrapping it around your hands a few times. Place the strap around the instep of your right foot. Pull gently on the strap with your right hand only. Lift your right leg off the ground. Stretch leg straight in front of you. Move your right leg to your right side. Pull the strap higher with your right hand for more resistance and to achieve a deeper stretch. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat four to six times on each side.
-Use a yoga strap for stretching your arms shoulders and chest (especially when you can’t reach both hands behind your back). Place the right arm behind your back and place the left arm over your shoulder so it touches your upper back. Take one end of the strap in each hand. Tug each end of the strap with each hand, which will give you a deep stretch in your arms (especially in the triceps), shoulders and chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat four to six times
-Use a yoga strap for prone positions (before final relaxation) to stretch the legs, back, hips and groin area. Lie down on your mat and wrap a yoga strap around the instep of your feet. Use both hands and lift your legs towards the ceiling. Tug on the strap at the same time as you lift your legs higher for a deeper stretch. Hold the strap with your right hand and move your right leg slowly the right side. Touch your right leg to the mat (if you are flexible enough) while still holding the strap with your right hand. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat four to six times, alternating sides.
This is starting to get extremely taxing… writing about an exercise mat. Youâ€™d think itâ€™d be much easier when you are thinking and talking about them 9 hours out of your day, but itâ€™s not like that at all. Thereâ€™s a literal writing block that happens when I try to summon the Greek God of workout mats to give me guidance: Hades. Lord Hades, I beseech you to grant me guidance on this day to fulfill my spiritual quest of le blog. Please grant me the strength…!
Too much strength! Now Iâ€™ve got back spams… great… On the plus side, though, I know that the trick to any mild muscular ailment is a hot bath and a good stretch are essential for someone as vertically endowed as myself to find pain relief from muscular pain (or weekly blogâ€™s writerâ€™s block). Which is why Iâ€™m happy to have access to rolls of our 3/8â€ SoftFoot stretching mats. Our SoftFoot Pilates Mat is the ideal mat for pilates exercises. It provides the extra cushion your body needs when working out on the ground. These fitness mats are comfortable, donâ€™t have any shocking odors or outgas like some other PVC based mats. Lord Hades would be pleased by this development.
We have one of the largest selections of folding mats.Â These are generally used as gymnastic tumbling mats, but we have customers that use them for everything from anÂ exercise mat to martial arts mats.
Not only do we have a huge variety of sizes and styles we can create custom folding mats to the size you would like.Â And if you don’t want velcro tabs, no problem.Â We recently just added two more styles to our selection. Â They are for the girls out there and one has flowers and the other has hearts on the mat. Â One thing that makes these mats so popular is that you can set them up when in use and then fold them up and put them in your closet or storage area when done.
Â So, when you get a chance, please take a look at the variety of what we offer and if you need a special mat size not shown or any assistance just let us know matsmatsmats.com.
My trainer put me through a rigorous regiment twice a week.Â Embarking on new vegetarian diet means I have to watch what I eat even more.Â While at the gym this past weekend, I noticed that when it comes to doing planks, everyone’s got a very different idea of what is comfortable on the ground.Â For those not familiar, a plank is a very simple yet very effective form of core training.Â You basically get down on the floor, back straight, and lift your body off the floor with your forearms on the floor.Â The idea is you use your elbows and toes to anchor your body while your core (lower back and abdomen) support your body.Â A minute of this can get pretty intense pretty fast.
Summer is here, and itâ€™s time to get that beach body! I donâ€™t have a lot of time to work out and what little down time I do have, isnâ€™t enough to get to the gym, and I certainly canâ€™t afford crazy exercise machines. Hereâ€™s a few workout ideas I got from my sister, who has a crazy college schedule and still manages to be fit and healthy. I like all these workouts because I can fit them in between loads of laundry, or while Iâ€™m watching TV and I donâ€™t have to spend a small fortune of equipment.Â These are just a few examples:
Resistance Band Row
Sit on the ground or on an exercise mat and extend your legs out in front of you. Hold the ends of a long, flat resistance band in each hand. Wrap the center of the band around the arch of your feet. Sit up straight, and hold your hands out in front of you in fists, choosing either a horizontal or vertical fist position. Pull back on the resistance bands, bending your elbows as your squeeze your shoulders together. When your upper arms come in line with your back, reverse the movement and return the band to the starting position. Continue the exercise, repeating the movement 12 to 15 times. Try not to use your momentum to make you move- youâ€™ll pull something.
Chest Lift (Exercise Ball)
Chest lift is a great AB workout. It works the upper and lower abs. You will also have to use your legs, and your butt muscles to stay stable.Â First, sit on the exercise ball and walk your feet out and pull your abs in and up to roll down on the ball so that your back is supported by the ball. You will probably be a little less than even with the floor. Put your hands behind your head, elbows wide. Inhale (breathing is really important- I used to hold my breath and I would get worn out much quicker) Exhale: Pull your abs in deeply to curl your head and upper spine up. Do not tuck your pelvis. Leave your shoulders down.Â Inhale: Return to start position. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
Resistance Tube Bicep Curls
This is by far my favorite item to workout with. There are so many different routines you can do to work various parts of your body. Start by bending your knees keeping your back straight when positioning the resistance tubes underneath the balls of your feet. Stand up and raise your hands slightly so that there is a small amount of resistance before starting the exercise with your palms facing upwards. This time you will be using one arm at a time starting with the weakest. Exhale as you curl the tube up keeping your upper arm strong and solid to your side squeezing your bicep at the top of the motion. Inhale as you lower the tube back to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner not allowing your arm to fully lockout or the tube to become relaxed before starting the next rep with the other arm and tube. Repeat this technique alternatively with both tubes and arms.
Hope this helps.Â Have a great Summer!
How many of you guys are like me and dance around the house when nobodyâ€™s watching?Â I know you wonâ€™t admit it, but you do. Â Anyway, Long story short, I don’t have a real dance floor at my house, so I wanted to make sure my bouncing and jumping around wasnâ€™t going to damage my wood floors (My house is lifted so itâ€™s hollow under the floorboards). Â On ehow.com I found out that dancing on a wood floor is better for your back and knees than dancing on concrete or tile floors, which are too hard. Â Dancing on hardwood floor or cushioned flooring lessens the impact on the joints and reduces the risk of injury.
I donâ€™t have a ballet bar in my house and I donâ€™t put on tap shoes.Â Iâ€™m not a professional dancer by any means, but Iâ€™ve always enjoyed dancing. Whether or not Iâ€™m any good is a whole different discussion, but I was happy to read that dancing is great exercise, and depending on the intensity of the activity, you can burn anywhere from 100 to 400 calories in an hour. Â Just 2 or 3 hours of social dancing can provide a moderate low-impact aerobic workout.Â Because dance requires good posture, a person who engages in it will also walk better, breathe better and feel better as a result. Â So, sometimes you might want to put away your exercise mat and just dance.Â
In additionÂ to the numerous health benefits, an evening of dancing can be an awful lot of fun, too. Â You just need to take steps to minimize the toll on your feet.
Yoga studios have been popping up like Subways throughout the United States for the past 10-15 years.Â Initially, everyone thought it was just the latest trendy thing to do, but I guess we can now finally say that yoga is not a fad and is here to stay.Â
With the increase in the number of people practicing yoga and the number of yoga studios came the myriad of yoga mats.Â Different colors, patterns, lengths, thicknesses, textures, materials and so on.Â Many people are not just doing yoga, but also wanting to use their mat for Pilates and/or general exercises.Â With all the yoga mat choices out there, very few mats are suitable for all of these various exercises.Â Sometimes you need better grip, sometimes you need more cushion, sometimes you need it to be easily transportable to and from classes and sometimes you need all of these things.Â
With all the various exercises, the one common factor is alignment.Â Whether youâ€™re doing yoga, Pilates or general exercises proper alignment is crucial.Â With all of this in mind, Iâ€™d like to introduce you to the YogaForce A-line Mat.Â This alignment mat improves your posture and makes you look great.Â It is ideal for yoga, Pilates or general exercises.Â The A-line mat is 30â€ wide at the top and tapers down to 20â€ width at the bottom.Â This exercise mat has patented alignment guides to assure proper positioning on your mat at all times. Whether you are a beginner or advanced in your practice, these guides take the guesswork out of your posture for a perfect workout.
This alignment mat also comes with a hands free adjustable shoulder strap and only weighs 4 pounds. It is easy for urban dwellers to transport on the run. This ergonomic mat also comes with a removable wallet to hold personal effects, such as sunblock, a cell phone, iPod, car keys and credit cards.
If you are in the market for a top quality exercise mat, Pilates mat and/or a yoga mat, the YogaForce A-line mat is the perfect mat for you.