Is it possible to use a yoga mat as a treadmill mat with good results? Here we’ll go through the pros and cons of using a yoga mat and if it’s better to get a treadmill mat for your situation.
Yoga mats are usually too small to cover the floor under a treadmill. If large enough, a yoga mat will be just as effective as a treadmill mat at keeping dust out of the treadmill and protecting the floor but, a treadmill mat will dampen more noise, be more stable and reduce treadmill movement.
Below we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between yoga mats and treadmill mats and what is better for you.
What should a treadmill mat do?
To know if we can use a yoga mat, we first have to know what you should expect from a treadmill mat.
There are a few very good reasons why almost any treadmill needs a mat under it;
- Protecting your flooring
- Preventing dust and dirt from getting into the treadmill
- Preventing the treadmill from sliding around
- Reducing noise and vibrations
- Easy to clean
- Providing a stable base
Even if you’re just looking for one or two of those benefits, it’s a good idea to put a mat under your treadmill.
Besides the reasons you want a mat under your treadmill listed above, treadmill mats tend to have the following characteristics;
- Thickness: Treadmill mats Are usually around ¼” thick but can be as thick as 3/4”
- Looks: Because it’s something pretty large, a treadmill mat has to look good in the room. A good treadmill mat will look pretty slick and not draw attention to itself.
- Material: Treadmill mats are made of either PVC or rubber.
- Weight: Treadmill mats are quite heavy and not easy to move around.
- Size: Treadmill mats are obviously made large enough to put a treadmill on.
- Pliability: Treadmill mats deform very little under the weight of the treadmill.
Now let’s look at what a yoga mat is/does and how it compares to a treadmill mat.
What does a yoga mat do?
Yoga mats can be made from quite a few different materials. PVC, different types of rubber, EVA foam and TPE are the most common. Natural materials like jute, cotton, hemp and cork are also possible but less common. We’re talking about the more common PVC, foam and rubber type of yoga mat.
Whatever they’re made of, they have the following characteristics.
- Feel: Yoga mats are always being touched. They should feel nice to do so. That means they have a relatively pleasant
- Thickness: Standard yoga mats are 1/8” thick but they can range from 1/16” to ¼”.
- Grip: A yoga mat should provide good grip even when you’re sweaty.
- Skin contact safe: Because there is a lot of skin contact, yoga mats should be free of dangerous chemicals that can leech out of the mat into your skin. Not all yoga mats do this but many producers of high quality mats will take this into consideration.
- Comfort: Because you’re always on the mat, they should be pretty comfortable.
- Flexibility and weight: Yoga classes are not in your house. And for most classes, you have to bring your own mat. That means yoga mats have to be easy to roll and be relatively light.
- Easy to clean: Because you sweat a lot on a yoga mat, it should be easy to clean.
Yoga mats are made to do exercises on and be easy to transport. Those aren’t necessarily characteristics that make for good treadmill mats.
What are the differences between a yoga mat and treadmill mat?
Above, you can see the characteristics of yoga mats and what to expect from a treadmill mat. So let’s pull both things together and see if the characteristics of a yoga mat make for a good treadmill mat.
So here are the benefits a treadmill mat provide and how well you can expect a yoga mat to perform in those areas;
- Protecting your flooring: Anything soft between the feet of a treadmill and the floor is going to protect your flooring. A yoga mat is going to do pretty well. In this area.
- Preventing dust and dirt from getting into the treadmill: Yoga mats are just as good at preventing dust and dirt from getting into the treadmill.
- Preventing the treadmill from sliding around: Yoga mats are a little less effective at this than a rubber treadmill mat. A rubber treadmill mat will have a surface that provides a bit more grip that would be uncomfortable for a yoga mat.
- Reducing noise and vibrations: Yoga mats are quite soft so in that regard, they are good at absorbing noise and vibrations. However, they tend to be a lot thinner than treadmill mats which means there’s less material to absorb vibrations which makes it less effective. Also, because yoga mats are soft, they’ll compress under the weight of a treadmill over time which means there’s even less damping.
- Easy to clean: Yoga mats and treadmill mats are equally easy to clean.
- Providing a stable base: You want a balance between damping noise and providing a stable base. Relatively hard rubber seems to be the best for most situations. Yoga mats are quite soft which helps with noise and vibration reduction but can provide a bit of instability. Yoga mats aren’t made to resist long term loading so over time the material will compress. That means better stability but less noise and vibration damping.
So, yoga mats are just as good as treadmill mats at protecting your floor, preventing dust and dirt from getting in and ease of cleaning.
They are slightly worse at reducing noise and vibrations, providing a stable base and preventing movement. Yoga mats aren’t terrible at these things but a good treadmill mat will do a better job.
A yoga mat is acceptable as a treadmill mat in a pinch but, a real, high quality treadmill mat will do a better job in a few ways. If you don’t have either mat yet, go for a real treadmill mat. If you already have a yoga mat and really need to put something under your treadmill, it’ll work but consider upgrading later.
All of the above assumes that both mats are the same size. They probably aren’t though. So finally, let’s take a look at yoga mat sizes and what size mat you actually need.
Yoga mat size vs. treadmill size
Besides the things named above, there’s also the size of the mats. Is a yoga mat big enough to use under a treadmill? First, let’s look at how big a mat under your treadmill should be;
You want the mat to stick out about 3” on all sides of the treadmill.
Part of the reason for that is that this creates a reasonably sized pad to absorb vibrations and pressure. It’s also useful for if the treadmill ‘walks’ a little. Having 3” of room on all sides means you’ll probably see it moving in time. You don’t want one leg to fall off the mat on one side. Of course a good mat should be grippy enough to prevent this.
So the outside dimensions of the treadmill aren’t as important as how far the feet are apart. It’s much easier to Google your treadmills dimensions than measure how far the feet are apart although both aren’t very difficult.
Frankly, it just looks better if the mat sticks out around the outside of the treadmill. If the mat covers the feet but not the full size of the treadmill, it looks like an elephant standing on a little step stool; funny but not very aesthetic. On most treadmills the feet are close to the corners anyways.
Now if you know how big your treadmill is, you can figure out which size mat you need. Just add 6” to the width and 6” to the length of your treadmill.
I’ve written a whole post about how big the average home treadmill is here.
The average size of a home treadmill is; 33.9” (w) x 75” (l) x 57.9” (h).https://homegymresource.com/how-big-is-a-home-treadmill-how-much-floorspace-do-you-need/
So if we add about 6” to every side of the average treadmill size, we can see that the average treadmill needs a mat that measures 39.9” by 81”
But of course not every treadmill is the same size so it’s worth to check for your model.
Not every yoga mat is the same size either although they’re much closer than treadmills. The standard size of a yoga mat is 2’ wide and 6’ long. The length varies between mats. Most yoga mats are between 68” and 74” long. The width is almost always 2’/24”/61cm.
So we can see a problem here already, standard yoga mats aren’t wide enough. Pretty much all treadmills are wider than 2’ otherwise nobody would actually be able to run on them. An average treadmill is about 3’ wide and you want the mat to be about 10” wider than that.
Ok, so what about using 2 yoga mats next to each other? That would give 4’ of width which will absolutely work. However, then we still have to look at the length. 74” long yoga mats will work with many smaller treadmills or if the feet are a little inside from the corners. On most treadmills you’ll be able to make this work. Some of the large ones will need a longer mat though.
So if you have one yoga mat, it’s likely not large enough to put a treadmill on. And if you have to buy another one, why not just get a treadmill mat? Compared to the price of a treadmill, the mat is a small extra.
Can you use a yoga mat under exercise equipment?
So what about other exercise equipment? Treadmills have special mats but other equipment doesn’t, is a yoga mat suitable for the other equipment?
Let me tell you a little secret. Most treadmill mats are just gym flooring in a different size. So all the differences that go for yoga vs. treadmill mats are also valid for mats you put under other equipment. However, some considerations like noise damping and limiting movement is usually less of a problem with other pieces of workout equipment so a yoga mat might be a bit better than for a treadmill.
If you haven’t bought anything yet, just go for rubber gym flooring. It’ll last longer, look better and just work better.
Also, don’t expect to be able to use your yoga mat after you put heavy equipment on it for a year.