Do anti fatigue mats really work?
Spending a large portion of the day standing up can be physically draining and may lead to discomfort and soreness in the feet and legs. To help people work more comfortably, one common solution is an anti-fatigue mat. But do anti-fatigue mats actually work and what are the benefits of using one? In addition to anti-fatigue mats, there are other desk accessories and sit-stand desks available that can help alleviate the physical strain of standing for long periods of time.
Table of Contents
What are anti fatigue mats?
When we stand, the muscles in the body contract to keep us upright and balanced. But standing for too long can result in these muscles becoming constricted and achy as a result of reduced blood flow. The body has to work harder to circulate blood round these constricted areas, which creates more discomfort and fatigue. If you’re someone who has to stand for long periods regularly, such as at work every day, the pressure and stress on your muscles and joints can build up and become painful.
Anti fatigue mats relieve the physical stress that standing for long periods can have on your body, improving blood circulation and reducing fatigue on your joints, feet and leg muscles. Also known as ergonomic or ergo mats, they keep your muscles moving to increase circulation and help to reduce pain, fatigue and discomfort in your legs and feet.
What does an anti fatigue mat do?
Anti fatigue mats improve circulation by encouraging constant micro-movements in your legs which keeps the muscles working and the blood flowing. The soft surface of ergo matting doesn’t just make for a more comfortable surface to stand on while you’re working but it activates your feet and leg muscles with small levels of instability to take the pressure off your joints and back and encourage blood flow which prevents tiredness in the legs.
These mats can help to provide more even pressure throughout the body to improve your posture, minimise the risk of headaches and neck ache, and reduce stress and pressure on your joints.
Do anti fatigue mats really work?
Yes, these soft mats have been proven to work by several studies over the years, all showing that using these mats while working can help to prevent physical fatigue and reduce discomfort, but also improving productivity and even staff morale.
We associate fatigue with tiredness from a lack of sleep or overdoing the exercise, but there are several types of fatigue and standing on uncomfortable surfaces for long periods can result in not only physical stress but even health problems over time. While standing and moving more throughout the day is better for our health than sitting for long periods, we need to ensure we’re doing so correctly to avoid replacing one problem with another.
When to use an anti fatigue mat
Anti fatigue mats are ideal for softening the impact of hard flooring and cushioning your feet to prevent stress and pressure on the joints and balls of your feet. If you use a standing desk, or a desk riser to enable you to work productively when you’re not sitting down, adding an anti fatigue mat can make all the difference to how you feel and work throughout the day.
When combined with a good desk set-up, ergo mats can help to improve your working conditions. The mat is light and easy to move in and out of place, encouraging you to move throughout the day and helping to resist the side effects of sitting or standing for too long.
Choosing the right anti fatigue mat
Not all anti fatigue mats are built the same, so there are a few things to consider when choosing the right mat for you. Firstly, know what the purpose of the mat is – anti-slip and anti-fatigue are often used interchangeably, but they offer different benefits, so choose the mat that’s best suited to your requirements.
Mats also come in different thicknesses and range from very soft to firm, so choose a mat that delivers a certain level of elasticity but will still enable you to stand comfortably. Ideally, you want a mat that has sloped edges to prevent you tripping over the mat and to allow office chairs to glide over the mat, and with a non-slip surface on the bottom to avoid it slipping around when you’re standing on it.
There are many advantages to using an anti-fatigue mat, from preventing cramps and aching in the legs and lower back, to increasing productivity, morale and job satisfaction. If your job requires you to stand for long periods, or you’re finding that standing when you work is causing discomfort for your legs, feet or back, using an anti fatigue mat can make all the difference to how you feel when you’re working and can help improve your work environment conditions.