While picking an exercise mat may not be as serious as many other health-related decisions you've made in the past, you will want to definitely invest some time into picking the right exercise mat. Picking an exercise mat, if done incorrectly, will have a negative impact on your motivation to participate in exercise. If done correctly, it has the potential to provoking a heightened feeling of excitedness towards more frequent exercise during your week. I have listed a few key concepts to keep in mind before shopping for your next aerobic mat.

Medical Conditions. A medical condition has broad terms but is normally something that impairs your ability to perform a particular function. Whether the condition is from injury, permanent, temporary, or otherwise, it will play a major role in helping you decide which exercise mat is right for you. Keep in mind that while exercise will allow you to strengthen your body, there is a difference between the burn you feel when working out a muscle versus the sharp, stinging, painful feeling when you get when you don't have enough cushion between the floor and your bones. Know what your medical conditions are and tailor your exercise equipment and exercise to accommodate.

Comfort. Anything and everything you do with regards to exercise could boil down to how comfortable your mat is or isn't. Keep in mind that your hands, knees, elbows, feet, back, and tailbone will be making contact with this material throughout your exercise routine. Also, you may find that while you may find your current aerobic mat bearable at some exercises, they may be very painful during others. If this is happening, stop performing those particularly painful exercises on the existing mat until you've found an acceptable upgrade.

One size doesn't fit all. Yes, because you may find one mat works for certain positions, it may not work for all, it may be best to have more than one type of mat available. An example would be to have a pliable, not-so-thick mat for stretches while investing in another mat that is significantly more dense and less prone to easily impressionable would be the way to go. Especially in those cases where you are working out with weights and the sheer heaviness causes you to create immediate indentations in the aerobic mat.

So you have a better mat or two or more, for that matter. What is next? Well, begin by understanding your medical conditions – know what you can and can't do. Next, determine which exercises are challenging enough but still within your comfort zone. Third, as you perform different exercises, be sure to pause and switch between your mats, if you have more than one, so that your current routine continues to be performed in a safe manner. Now go out there and break a sweat!

Disclaimer: Before starting a diet or exercise regimen, be sure to consult your licensed physician to discuss the potential risks.