Resilient Cork Flooring for Exercise

Cork comes from the bark of the Quercus suber oak tree found around the Mediterranean Sea. After bark is taken from the tree, it can create new bark. Flooring is one way cork is used after it is cultivated. This type of flooring is a relatively easy-to-find option that you can consider for your home exercise room as an alternative to wood, carpeting or a synthetic material. Many gyms, exercise centers and yoga studios use cork flooring. Cork flooring comes with benefits specific to exercise.

Handle the Pressure

Cork flooring can absorb some of the shock of fitness workouts with its resilient and flexible qualities. Over half of the cork's volume is air and cork can restore and maintain much of its form after pressure is put on it. It provides a strong and supportive base similar to wood flooring. It works well for gentle activities like yoga, but it can also handle high-impact ones like jumping rope or kickboxing.

Support the Machine

Cork flooring is not made with the same cork granule as bulletin boards. Instead, it's made with a higher density cork and has a surface finish, allowing it to handle weight. Free weights can damage some floors like tile, but cork flooring can flex with the weights. Cork is also strong enough to support exercise machines and give them a level surface -- unlike carpet, on which the machines can sink. For a gym, cork tiles are a better option than cork "floating floors," which sit above subflooring. The floating floor type includes fiberboard and will indent with the machines, but glued-down tiles can handle the weight. Nonetheless, the machines will press down on the cork somewhat, so placing an exercise mat underneath the machines will help preserve the floor's original quality and shape.

Save the Earth

Cork can provide an earth-friendly option if you want to create a green exercise room. Cork, just like bamboo, is a renewable resource. Some companies even use recycled wine corks to create cork flooring and a lot of cork flooring comes from wine cork by-products. In addition, cork is a healthier choice than some other options because mites can't hide in it and it doesn't give off chemicals or gases. Therefore, cork provides healthier air to breathe in during exercise. Since it's a hypoallergenic material, people with allergies can exercise on it.

Additional Considerations

Cork can handle high traffic and is easy to maintain. Clean it by vacuuming or sweeping the dirt; use wood floor cleaner for a deeper clean. Check with the manufacturer's instructions on maintaining the finish; you can buff a wax coating with paste wax or a varnish coating with liquid polish. Cork's naturally-insulating properties can help you maintain a comfortable temperature in your exercise room and can prevent some of the sound of exercising from spreading to the rest of the house. You can purchase cork tiles or panels and install them yourself for about $2 to $10 per square foot, or you can have them installed for approximately $5 to $12 per square foot. In comparison, a hardwood floor can range from $8 to $14 per square foot.

About the Author

Sharon Therien has been writing professionally since 2007. She specializes in health writing and copywriting for websites, blogs and businesses. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Reiki Master with a Certificate in Fitness and Nutrition. Therien has a Master of Arts in sociology from Florida Atlantic University.