Exercise Mat Vs Yoga Mat

Exercise Mat Vs Yoga Mat

All in all, a yoga mat is an exercise mat, but not the other way around.

They both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know what type of yoga or exercise you want to do before purchasing one.

In this article, I'll go over what they are, how they differ from each other, and what makes them unique.

What Is an Exercise Mat?

Exercise mats are generally in gyms. Seldom called Gym mats, these are mainly used for doing bodyweight exercises by fitness enthusiasts. These mats are thick and perfect for floor-based exercises like sit-ups, planks, and others.

Can you use a yoga mat as a workout mat?
The mat's thickness helps insulate your body from the ground. They also entail the prevention of injury in the event of any falls.  

These exercise mats are usually made from thick foam and a vinyl cover, and it’s easier to clean them. However, you will need a moist cloth to wipe them. 

These mats have a non-slip feature that provides a superior grip for doing various exercises. 

It ensures the safety and also provides a convenient place for practising exercises and other martial arts moves. Furthermore, these are foldable for secure storage.

When you're shopping for an exercise mat, don't forget to keep comfortability, thickness, and moisture resistance in mind.

What Is Yoga Mat?

Amazon Basics Extra Thick Exercise Yoga Gym Floor Mat with Carrying Strap, 74 x 24 x .5 Inches, Black
  • Extra thick, cushy floor mat in Black for yoga, gym, and everyday exercise
  • 1/2 inch thickness offers comfortable padded support and shock absorption; textured surface provides extra traction
  • Durable foam construction offers stretchability and springs back into shape
  • Elastic strap for secure rolled-up mat storage and easy over-the-shoulder carrying
  • Wipes clean easily

A Yoga Mat is for low-intensity exercises. It is why the yoga mat tends to be thinner than other mats available.

Thin mats provide both cushion and traction to the floor. It is an essential component of the yoga activity.

Yoga mats come in a wide range of thicknesses, materials, and dimensions. However, the thickness of the mats typically goes from one-eighth of an inch to one-fourth of an inch.

Some companies also manufacture travel-sized yoga mats that are only 1/16th of an inch in thickness. These mats are lightweight and foldable, which makes them easy to transport as well as portable.
How thick should an exercise mat be?

As stated above, They are available in different materials like PVC, natural cotton, rubber, and jute fibres. 

Therefore, you could make a selection from the list, depending on your choices and requirements. 

For example, most yogis prefer mats with PVC material. However, if you are allergic to latex, then don’t choose natural rubber mats.

When purchasing a yoga mat, keep in mind the stickiness, thickness, and texture. PVC mats are the most sticky. It is because they have the highest stickiness factor or the ability to stick to surfaces. 

Additionally, they also have a slight texture that feels soft.

Exercise Mat vs Yoga Mat: Differences and Similarities

Now that we know what an exercise mat is and what is a yoga mat, let’s look at the differences between the two:

What can I use instead of an exercise mat?


Yoga mats are typically thinner than exercise mats. It is why they are also more lightweight. Also, you need to know that thicker mats are the best for yoga classes. However, if you want to do outdoor yoga, then stick to the thinner ones.

An ideal thickness of 4 to 5 mm for exercise mats is perfect for doing floor exercises without hurting your hands and feet. 

The standard material used for manufacturing these is recycled rubber, which has excellent cushioning properties.


If we speak of thickness, Yoga mats have a range of thicknesses. A yoga mat is for low-impact exercises. It means that no protection from the ground is needed when executing movements.

When doing the exercises like squats, push-ups, or planks, you might need a mat of nice thickness. Otherwise, you might hurt yourself while performing them.

Exercise mats come in a thickness of half an inch, while standard yoga mats are 1/8 of an inch thick. 


Yoga mats are durable enough to withstand most impacts. In most cases, these mats will collapse as a result, but they will bounce back quickly.

On the contrary, exercise mats are usually made from a synthetic material that is not as durable as rubber and cotton. 

To keep them intact and firm, some manufacturers apply additional glue on the mat to provide extra durability and prevent them from moving. 

Water and Moisture Resistance ​

When it comes to moisture and water resistance, both exercise and yoga mats have their advantages. 

However, as yoga mats are thinner, they are more prone to potential damage when exposed to water. In addition, they can be damaged by sweat and moisture if not dried immediately after use.

Exercise mats also suffer from the same problem, but not as severely as yoga mats. They can get damaged when exposed to the environment after prolonged use. 

Portability and Storage

Yoga mats are typically very lightweight and portable. They’re easy to carry around when travelling but also easy to store when not in use. 

You can fold or roll them up and place them at the back of your car without any trouble.

Exercise mats are foldable and easily carried, but they are not convenient for travel. In addition, these mats are more significant and cumbersome than the other and will occupy more space. 

However, you may store them in a closet or cupboard after folding them.

Comfortability ​

Yoga mats are thinner and contain less padding than exercise mats. However, yoga mats have enough thickness for light exercise routines. Consequently, they do not need as much padding.

The exercise mats, in contrast, have more thickness and foam-like surfaces. This surface of the exercise mats provides added comfort to the users when doing heavy lifting exercises or workouts. This mat also does not get soggy because of its vinyl-coated surface.

Cleaning and Maintenance Requirements ​

Yoga mats need very minimal maintenance and cleaning. It is because most yoga mats are designed not to absorb moisture and liquids. Another reason is that they come with washable covers. 

As a result, you can clean them by wiping them off with a clean towel. Some yoga mats also offer antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, making them appropriate for cleaning after using them in a shared environment.

On the other hand, exercise mats need a bit more maintenance and cleaning. While most exercise mats offer excellent performance, they tend to absorb moisture and sweat quickly. 

These need to be cleaned regularly, depending upon how often you use them, as well as how many people use them at any given time. 


Exercise mats, as opposed to yoga mats, are relatively more expensive. You may wonder why. It is due to their durability which justifies the price.

Yoga mats are affordable. They come in a wide assortment of brands, and the cost may differ from low to high. 

Prices for better quality vary, but the most expensive seldom equals the highest quality. The mats with anti-tear technology are priced the highest of them all.


The two mats are of great importance in today’s society. They have their respective uses and purposes of being used. If you want to get the most out of your yoga practice, then go with yoga mats.

While exercising, you might choose to use an exercise mat. It will do just fine for you if you're looking to get your lower and upper body worked out and toned. 

They can also be used by beginners and people who need little padding on their hands and feet during their workout routine.

When considering purchasing a yoga mat or an exercise mat, always look into the type that is best suited to your needs or purpose. 

Hopefully, this article helped you know the distinction between a yoga mat and an exercise mat. Now that you are aware, you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

Please drop a line if this article has been helpful. If you would like to ask any questions about either exercise mats or yoga mats, mention them. I would love to help you choose the mat that is best suitable for your needs!

If you would like to share any solutions, please contact us. We want to hear from you.

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