Posts Tagged ‘exercise mat’

An All Purpose Exercise Mat Would Be An Ideal Gift To Myself!

Posted on: March 15th, 2013 by

Stretching Mats Can Make Working Out More Comfortable!So after a few months of being a bum I decided it was time to hop on my treadmill machine again.  I was so glad that I remembered where I put my treadmill mat!  I love my treadmill because in my heart of hearts I’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)  so I figured he’d have a quick fix.  I quickly learned I didn’t stretch properly.  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 blah… 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).   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!   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.  At this point I’m thinking an all purpose exercise mat would be an ideal gift to myself.

Here’s the kicker. All these benefits are achievable, even if you don’t regularly work out. You can experience a healthier, more comfortable day, just by stretching.

In order for stretching to be effective, you’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 don’t want to go out into the heat or rain, or  have allergies,  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. Don’t stretch before intense workout sessions like sprinting or other high-intensity cardio training.  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.


Fitness Mats – Ideal As A Pilates Mat, Stretching Mat Or For An Exercise Mat!

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 by

Exercise products and Pilates Mat accessoriesThis is starting to get extremely taxing… writing about an exercise mat. You’d think it’d be much easier when you are thinking and talking about them 9 hours out of your day, but it’s not like that at all. There’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 I’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 blog’s writer’s block). Which is why I’m happy to have access to rolls of our 3/8” 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, don’t have any shocking odors or outgas like some other PVC based mats. Lord Hades would be pleased by this development.


Gymnastic Tumbling Mats – Check Out Our Large Selection and Many Uses!

Posted on: October 23rd, 2012 by

tumbling mats for home or club useWe have one of the largest selections of folding mats.  These are generally used as gymnastic tumbling mats, but we have customers that use them for everything from an 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.  And if you don’t want velcro tabs, no problem.  We recently just added two more styles to our selection.  They are for the girls out there and one has flowers and the other has hearts on the mat.  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.

 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.


Comfortable Planking

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by

exercise mat in various colorsMy trainer put me through a rigorous regiment twice a week.  Embarking on new vegetarian diet means I have to watch what I eat even more.  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.  For those not familiar, a plank is a very simple yet very effective form of core training.  You basically get down on the floor, back straight, and lift your body off the floor with your forearms on the floor.  The idea is you use your elbows and toes to anchor your body while your core (lower back and abdomen) support your body.  A minute of this can get pretty intense pretty fast.

 
At my gym, we have workout mats in varying thicknesses.  What I noticed was that depending on the person, different mats will provide a substantially different level of comfort and balance when planking.  A petite woman with a small frame would probably dig into a plank on a relatively thin mat like a yoga mat, while a larger, body-builder type male will not get much out of anything less than 1-3/8″ dense crosslink foam exercise mat for most floor stretches and things like planks.
When it comes to finding exercise mats for particular applications, one must always consider comfort, thickness, and (often overlooked) body chemistry. At 6’4″ and 198lbs, I found that my deciding factor when using any of the floor mats for exercise, is the actual surface material.  Smooth Vinyl on most crosslink mats, embossing pattern on closed-cell pvc mats (e.g. yoga mats) or the hard surface of the rubber gym flooring.  I happen to sweat A LOT. Like, a lot.  So much in fact, that by the time I’m doing a plank, my elbows begin sliding on the vinyl covering of a crosslink mat.  As a result, I always go for the pebble embossed 3/8″ thick closed-cell pvc mats and the 5/8″ when available.  The thickness, comfort, and grip it provides for me are just the thing needed to attempt a 90 second plank without sliding around once the muscles start to give.

It’s Summer – Time To Get Fit Again!

Posted on: June 15th, 2012 by

Summer is here, and it’s time to get that beach body! I don’t have a lot of time to work out and what little down time I do have, isn’t enough to get to the gym, and I certainly can’t afford crazy exercise machines. Here’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 I’m watching TV and I don’t have to spend a small fortune of equipment.  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- you’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.  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.  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.  Have a great Summer!


Just Dance

Posted on: June 11th, 2012 by

How many of you guys are like me and dance around the house when nobody’s watching?  I know you won’t admit it, but you do.  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 wasn’t going to damage my wood floors (My house is lifted so it’s hollow under the floorboards).  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.  Dancing on hardwood floor or cushioned flooring lessens the impact on the joints and reduces the risk of injury.

I don’t have a ballet bar in my house and I don’t put on tap shoes.  I’m not a professional dancer by any means, but I’ve always enjoyed dancing. Whether or not I’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.  Just 2 or 3 hours of social dancing can provide a moderate low-impact aerobic workout.  Because dance requires good posture, a person who engages in it will also walk better, breathe better and feel better as a result.  So, sometimes you might want to put away your exercise mat and just dance. 

In addition to the numerous health benefits, an evening of dancing can be an awful lot of fun, too.  You just need to take steps to minimize the toll on your feet.


YogaForce A-line Mat – An Alignment Mat for Pilates, Yoga or General Exercise

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011 by

Alignment Mat The YogaForce A-Line MatYoga studios have been popping up like Subways throughout the United States for the past 10-15 years.  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. 

With the increase in the number of people practicing yoga and the number of yoga studios came the myriad of yoga mats.  Different colors, patterns, lengths, thicknesses, textures, materials and so on.  Many people are not just doing yoga, but also wanting to use their mat for Pilates and/or general exercises.  With all the yoga mat choices out there, very few mats are suitable for all of these various exercises.  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. 

With all the various exercises, the one common factor is alignment.  Whether you’re doing yoga, Pilates or general exercises proper alignment is crucial.  With all of this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the YogaForce A-line Mat.  This alignment mat improves your posture and makes you look great.  It is ideal for yoga, Pilates or general exercises.  The A-line mat is 30” wide at the top and tapers down to 20” width at the bottom.  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.


Aerobics Mats

Posted on: June 7th, 2010 by

exercise matsIf you have a loved one, or if you, yourself, are an exercise enthusiast, and are still working out from home without a decent exercise mat, why is that? Don’t they—or you—deserve something appropriate for maintaining stability, reducing stress to joints due to impact, and help to prevent slips and falls, even on carpeted floors?

Aerobics mats like the one pictured here, come in three foot by six-and-a-half-foot or three by four foot sizes to provide ample workout space, with beveled edges, stippled texture and anti-skid grip no carpet can ever provide. They’re latex free for those with allergies to latex, impermeable to moisture, and are readily cleaned to help maintain a healthful workout surface.

Consider one of these as a gift to for that special someone, or for yourself! Or, if you or that special someone is more into Pilates, Pilates exercise mats are also a fantastic alternative, with a variety of suitable choices.