Is Your Fitness Mat Getting In The Way Of Your Health Goals?
Whether you’re a devotee of yoga or a part of team Pilates, chances are you have a fitness mat (or several) you use for your favorite floor workouts. Perhaps your purchasing decision was influenced by your design preferences or the brands sold at your local studio. I admit when I purchased my first mat, I was wooed by the bright turquoise pattern and the pleasant sponginess.
I later learned that my beloved mat was most likely made from PVC (vinyl). Unfortunately, PVC is considered a toxic plastic by most natural health experts. The World Health Organization lists PVC as a known carcinogen. PVC can release dioxins, which are associated with reproductive and developmental damage. Furthermore, exposure to PVC is often accompanied by exposure to phthalates, compounds that soften plastic and are linked to endocrine disruption.
In short, breathing in those plastic-y fumes from your mat may work against your wellness.
When I eventually upgraded to a new mat, I made health-friendly materials top priority, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you don’t have to sacrifice your sense of style for a PVC-free mat.
I’m now in love with my eKo yoga and Pilates mat, which is made of natural tree rubber and coated in a hygienic closed-cell surface that keeps moisture and bacteria from absorbing into the mat (so it’s easy to clean and still looks brand new after three years of use!). Also, your conscience can rest easy—eKo mats are sustainably made through a zero-waste process and are biodegradable.
After a short “break-in” period, a rubber mat is just as grip-y as its PVC counterparts. Plus, rubber mats don’t give off a chemical fragrance that makes your headstand more like headache. The mats come in beautiful, rich colors that are sure to add a special element to your practice; I was able to find a deep teal mat that felt like the classy big sister of my first mat. So next time you’re in the market for a new fitness mat, consider giving high-quality eKo yoga and Pilates mats a try.