Yoga mats are made from rubber or a similar material and are intended to facilitate a person’s yoga practice or other forms of exercise.
Today’s yoga mats are very comfortable and durable and provide a wealth of benefits we’ll get into below.
12 Benefits Of Yoga Mats
Before we list the benefits of the yoga mat, it’s important to note that the majority of such benefits are inextricably tied to the practice of yoga. That said, let’s begin.
1: Yoga mats enable seniors to enjoy the benefits of yoga.
This is the first and most obvious benefit of a yoga mat. It’s also one that will pay handsome dividends for older individuals. A good yoga mat will enable an older individual to explore this ancient practice (1) and in the process regain a sense of control over their physical wellbeing.
2: Yoga mats help prevent injuries.
And that’s important because, like all types of exercise, yoga carries with it the possibility of injury (2). Without a solid, non-slip surface beneath you, that possibility is magnified. If the floor is slippery, much of the yoga energy is wasted as the body tries to keep itself under control. A good yoga mat enables you to perform better by keeping that energy within the body. For the same reason, the yoga mat can help you project energy more effectively if you are using it for weight training.
3: Yoga mats allow you to practice yoga anywhere.
As long as you have a good mat available, you can practice yoga just about anywhere. And just about any time. Unlike aerobics that require lots of space and noisy hopping around, yoga is virtually silent. Your downstairs neighbors will certainly appreciate that. Like Thai Chi, yoga can be, and often is, practiced outdoors too.
4: Yoga mats help you achieve peace of mind.
By enabling older individuals to practice yoga and other forms of exercise, the yoga mat becomes the vehicle they ride to greater peace of mind. One of the many benefits of yoga is that it helps improve the practitioner’s outlook and attitude toward life. While it may not be a ‘cure’ for things like depression, it can nonetheless help alleviate stress and other factors that can weigh on a person’s spirit.
5: Yoga mats help seniors retain good balance.
A loss of balance is one of many reasons older people tend to fall (3). All it takes is a single nasty fall to change the course of an older person’s life, and not for the better. It’s believed that each year 1 out of 3 people over 65 in the US experiences a fall that generates a serious injury. Many of those falls lead to broken bones. Getting down on the yoga mat and exercising can help people maintain strength and balance as they age and help prevent falls from occurring.
6: Yoga mats help seniors stay flexible.
By laying out the yoga mat and practicing regularly, seniors can retain vital flexibility. As we age, flexibility is one of the first things to suffer. That is due in large part to the fact that people tend to become more sedentary as they age. Also, the movements they do make tend to become narrow in scope and repetitive. Yoga, or any stretching routine for that matter, can help older individuals retain or regain flexibility. That in turn makes them better able to conduct the routine business of their lives (4) without need of assistance.
7: Yoga mats can help seniors sleep better.
It’s well-documented that seniors often have trouble sleeping (5). There are myriad reasons for this including arthritis pain and depression. But yoga has been shown to improve sleep quality in nearly everyone who practices it (6). Including older individuals. Post-menopausal women in particular are believed to benefit from the meditative aspects of yoga which increases melatonin levels and enables better quality sleep (7).
8: Yoga mats can help reduce arthritis pain.
By enabling you to practice yoga at home the yoga mat can play an important role in reducing the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis (8). Joint stiffness is the major cause of arthritis pain. And yoga has been shown to reduce arthritis inflammation, which in turn relieves stiffness. The fact is, anything that relieves stiffness is going to make living a little easier for arthritis sufferers. Yoga also helps build and tone muscles. And maintaining strength as you age is one of the best ways to stave off many age-related health complications (9), including fall-related injuries.
9: Yoga mats can be used to do other types of exercise as well.
And that’s important because while yoga is a great way for seniors to stay fit and flexible, other types of exercise can be equally beneficial. And a good yoga mat can help you perform them. Weight training for instance, can be extremely beneficial for older folks (10) and is gaining in popularity with each passing year. Having a good yoga mat under you can prevent you from slipping as you work with the barbell or dumbbells. A good yoga mat will also help with pushups, situps, planking (11) and more.
10: Yoga mats help you stay strong.
Strength training is a good idea and is growing in popularity among seniors, as we mentioned. But sometimes yoga by itself is all the strength training a person needs. This is especially true if you explore the more vigorous poses. Back, legs, arms, abs, shoulders, and more will all end up stronger as a result of a dedicated yoga practice. And staying stronger will help you live longer.
11: Yoga mats can be used in the shower to prevent slips.
For all their benefits, yoga mats often present a bit of a conundrum for environmentally conscious individuals. That’s because PVC mats are not typically easy to recycle (12). However, that doesn’t mean you have to consign your old yoga mat to the landfill. Instead, put it to work in the bathroom. A high percentage of falls experienced by the elderly occur in the bathroom. You can reduce the chances of slipping and falling by using your old yoga mat as a shower mat.
12: Yoga mats can be donated and used as sleeping mats.
Because of limited funding, homeless shelters often struggle with providing their guests with comfortable places to sleep. Donating your old yoga PVC mat to a shelter can help ensure that at least one person is not sleeping on the hard, bare floor tonight.
No matter what type of exercise you engage in a yoga mat can be helpful. Of course, if you regularly practice yoga a high-quality mat like those listed above will be essential. Yoga mats help prevent injury, enable you to push yourself a bit physically and allow you to stay flexible.