The major difference between a Yoga mat and a gym mat (exercise mat, fitness mat) is the thickness. These mats also differ in a few other aspects such as length, width, surface texture, and material.
There are a few different types of Yoga mats that vary in thickness. A standard Yoga mat is usually around 3 mm thick (1/8 inch).
There are also wafer-thin yoga mats with a thickness of just 1.6 mm (1/16 inch). These are great for when you want to travel and carry your mat wherever you go.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have yoga mats that can be as thick as 10 to 12 mm (0.39 to 0.47 inches).
Gym mats are thicker than Yoga mats. They are around 2.5 to 7.6 cm thick (1 to 3 inches).
2. Length and width
A standard Yoga mat is usually 172 cm long (68 inches) and 61 cm (24 inches) wide. But the length of Yoga mats can vary from 180 to 182 cm (70 to 71 inches).
Exercise mats are between 157 and 183 cm long (62-72 inches). There are extra-long exercise mats with a length of up to 218 cm (86 inches).
The width of exercise mats can vary between 50 -91 cm (20 - 36 inches). You can also find extra-wide exercise mats that are up to 121 cm wide (48 inches).
3. Surface texture
Yoga mats generally have a textured surface that provides good grip and prevents the mat from slipping on the floor.
Gym mats tend to have a smoother surface.
Both Yoga mats and gym mats are made of materials including PVC, TPE, and foam.
There are also natural Yoga mats available that are made of materials such as jute, cotton, cork, natural rubber, and recycled rubber.
When to choose a Yoga mat
A yoga mat is ideal for the following situations.
- For regular Yoga and Pilates, low-impact bodyweight workouts and floor-based exercises
- For hot yoga (Bikram yoga) practices to prevent your mat from slipping
- If you have space constraints
- If portability is a high priority
- When you want to have a cushioning effect, yet still feel connected to the floor
When to choose a fitness mat
Choose a fitness mat,
- When you need extra support and cushioning
- To protect yourself from joint injuries
- To practice exercise forms including dancercise, martial arts training, and other workouts that demand more space
- For practicing weight training, abdominal exercises and other high-impact exercises that exert a lot of pressure on the mat.
- If portability isn’t high on your priority list
So now that you know the difference between a Yoga mat and an exercise mat, you can go ahead and select the right one based on your needs.
Check out our collection of Yoga mats and other Yoga accessories right here.