22 December, 2010
How to Make a Sliding Exercise Mat
Sliding exercise mats, such as the Slideboard or similar products, simulate the motion of ice skating and are used for enhancing balance as well as increasing caloric burn during aerobic exercise. Prices can be high, however, depending on the brand and quality of the sliding exercise mat. Making one is an economic alternative. The average sliding mat is between 4 and 7 feet in length, and some are adjustable for different users -- shorter for children, for example.
Cut the vinyl to the desired size of the sliding exercise mat, such as 8 feet by 2 feet. After determining the size, leave a couple of inches extra on each end (the short sides) to allow room for the bumpers. The mat size can be adjusted for smaller users later if necessary, by moving the position of the bumpers.
If the sliding mat will be used on a hard floor surface, such as wood or tile, use of a wood board underneath is optional; if it will be used on a carpeted or uneven surface, prepare the wood board to be at least as big as the mat, but preferably a little larger; using on a carpet will limit the suction cups' securing the mat in place.
Measure and cut the wood for the end bumpers. These should be at least as wide as the piece of vinyl (2 feet, for instance), but can be made slightly longer. The width and height of the bumpers should be at least a couple of inches to ensure they are strong enough for attaching the suction cups and about as wide as the extra space left on the ends of the vinyl.
Measure and mark the spots on each bumper where the suction cups will go. Drill the holes for the suction cups. If using four suction cups, two go on each bumper; if using six, three go on each bumper. Use the drilled holes to mark the spots on the ends of the vinyl where corresponding holes need to be. Puncture, cut or punch holes through the vinyl in the correct spots. Line up the screws with the holes in the vinyl and attach the suction cups to the underside, using long screws.
Lay the vinyl on top of the no-slip drawer liner, on the floor or over the wood board, and suction the cups to the floor. If necessary, use a bit of spray cleaner or water to assist the suction cups.
Cut the nylon fabric to make shoe covering booties, or cut large squares and tie around the shoes or feet. If necessary, stitch the booties and add elastic or string for securing over the shoes. Alternatively, wear nylon socks or other slippery socks to help in sliding on the mat.
Move objects in the room before using a sliding mat, to avoid injury should you lose your balance.