Is It Bad to Exercise on Carpeting?

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Working out on a carpet is the only option in many homes.
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You might not think much about the floor surface when it comes time to exercise, but understanding the differences between different flooring can help you have a safer and more effective workout. Whether you're exercising at home or at a facility, here are some tips for working out on carpet.

Tip

With a few precautions, you can exercise safely on carpet.

Safety of Exercising on Carpet

While working out at a gym or fitness facility that has high-quality flooring is ideal, sometimes an at-home workout is the only way to fit a workout into a busy day. If your routine includes an aerobic-type workout and carpet is your only option, the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine says to stick to low- to moderate-impact workouts since carpet is not the proper surface for high-impact routines.

A low- to moderate-impact aerobic workout might include moves like marching or walking in place. Avoid lateral movements, jumping or leaping on carpet.

Additionally, results from a January 2013 retrospective analysis of data published in the Journal of Injury and Violence found that older adults are more prone to falls and injuries due to unsecured rugs and damaged carpets. Therefore, if you're older and your only option is to perform a workout on carpet, make sure the edges are not curled or damaged and secure any loose rugs, especially if you're doing exercises that require you to move around a lot, such as low-impact dance aerobics.

Read more: At-Home Workouts to Improve Balance, Mobility, and Strength in Your 60s and Beyond

Performing a Workout on Carpet

When working out on carpet, the first step is to keep the exercise intensity low and more focused on body weight exercises rather than aerobic-type workouts that require you to move around. For example, stick to exercises like body weight squats, push-ups, crunches or planks. Yoga is also another form of exercise that is doable on carpet.

Also consider skipping exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees since these movements require your feet to lift off the floor. Another safety measure is to remove any rugs that are not attached to the floor or secure any area rugs that are not fixed to the floor.

Since workout videos are a popular option for at-home exercising, you might be wondering whether aerobics on carpet is safe. While the surface is soft and not necessarily the main issue, a Consumer Reports article recommends avoiding carpet since shoes can stick rather than glide when doing a Zumba class.

Other Things to Consider

In addition to making your carpeted floor surface safer and easier to use, there are a few other tips for working out on carpet you should consider. Choosing the right shoes can also make a difference when performing a workout on carpet.

Depending on the type of workout, the best shoes for working out on carpet can range from running shoes to cross-training or walking shoes. If you're performing body weight exercises such as lunges and squats, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends a shoe with a flat and steady surface like a cross-trainer.

And for aerobic-type workouts, ACE recommends a pair of lightweight cross-trainers with ankle and arch support. Additionally, consider trying a shoe with a wider toe box to give your foot more room to move around.

To make the floor safer, you can use an exercise mat over the carpet. When choosing a mat, look for one that is long enough so you can place your hands and feet on it when doing movements like planks or push-ups. This will give you more stability and help keep your feet from getting caught in the carpet.

Read more: At-Home Gym Ideas for Every Budget

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