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Tips to consider when buying an exercise mat

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th September 2007 03:00 AM

JOAN made a New Year’s resolution to keep fit, but one day at the gym made her change her mind.
“I was ready to do my strecthing exercises when I realised that the only available exercise mat had just been drenched in someone’s smelly sweat,” she says.

JOAN made a New Year’s resolution to keep fit, but one day at the gym made her change her mind.
“I was ready to do my strecthing exercises when I realised that the only available exercise mat had just been drenched in someone’s smelly sweat,” she says.

By Thomas Pere

JOAN made a New Year’s resolution to keep fit, but one day at the gym made her change her mind.
“I was ready to do my strecthing exercises when I realised that the only available exercise mat had just been drenched in someone’s smelly sweat,” she says.

That marked the end of her gym resolution. Even though she tried to continue with the exercises at home, by the end of March, she was back to her old lifestyle.

In spite of the benefits of exercising and stretching, many like Joan have failed to make it part of their lifestyle due to discouraging experiences.

Apart from being slippery, exercising on a cold and hard floor is not comfortable. The experience can be made worthwhile by simply buying an exercise mat.

Assa Baguma, a health and fitness instructor at a health gym in Ntinda, Kampala, says: “Exercise mats are flat handy sheets of rubber or fabric on which exercises are done. They are used mainly to provide cleaner and more comfortable surfaces than floors.”

He says what makes exercising difficult for most people is enduring the hard surfaces and the distance they have to walk, finding a convenient place for something they could do at home.
But with an exercise mat, doing your routine exercises becomes simple. You can exercise anywhere.

Zea Khan of Super sports House on Ben Kiwanuka street, says: “it is common to find people exercising on mattresses, yet the mattresses do not give the flat alignment which is required.”

She adds that: “There are several types; the rolled one, those that are folded and the ones for children. The common ones in our market are those made of foam; they are either plain or covered with plastic/nylon.

The mesh and fabric ones are not common here. Mesh is made with open weave, making them breathable and comfortable.

“They are ideal for heavy exercises and for people who sweat a lot, because they prevent moisture build-up.
“The common size are one-inch thick, with sides of 2.5 metres.

“However, there are those which are either smaller or bigger and most have straps for carrying it. Their durability depends on your use; otherwise they last for years, even up to a lifetime,” says Khan.

Ramesh Shinde, a sales man at Asiatic Sports House on Kampala Road, says: “When buying a mat, if you are interested in traction, choose the type that provides grip on the floor to keep you in balance.

If you do a lot of standing floor exercises, look for a yoga or pilates mat with an adhesive surface to help keep you stable. Air-filled or padded mats also help improve traction.”

Exercise mats are available in many supermarkets and sports shops in the country. Their prices vary from sh25,000 to sh60,000, depending on the type, size and quality.

“Incase you are looking for comfort; select mats that provide adequate cushioning and support against the floor. Look for a mat which is well padded, light and breathable.

“To prevent sweat build-up and skin irritation, look for mats made out of highly absorbent, but quick drying materials,” says Shinde.

Incase you are just starting to exercise, consider buying mats which come with illustrations on how to exercise.

Tips to consider when buying an exercise mat

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