Our Guide on How to Choose the Best Anti-Fatigue Mat for YouBy Daniel Angelini on November 10, 2020
Today, people are more conscious of the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods. Sitting at your desk all day leads to health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It also brings musculoskeletal issues like back pain and inflammation.
One of the best ways to stay healthy while being productive at work is by using a standing desk setup. It lets you switch quickly from sitting down to standing up, with no interruption to your workflow.
However, standing on most office floors can be uncomfortable for some people. Offices often have thin carpet tiles or hard floors, and staying upright on these can tire out the ankles, feet, and legs. A simple solution to this is using a standing desk anti-fatigue mat.
What is an anti-fatigue mat?
It is a lightweight, compact surface that makes standing up more comfortable. Standing desk mats are easy to lift and move since you would want the option of sitting back down or standing up whenever needed. These mats are made of shock-absorbent material and help you sustain a standing setup. They also have bevelled sides, which prevent people from tripping on the corners or the edges.
A mat like this supports micro-movements, which allow muscles to contract and expand. When your muscles adjust to the mat’s flexibility, they make small movements and try to keep your balance. These movements improve the flow of blood and oxygen into your heart and help evenly distribute the pressure of standing. As a result, there is less strain on muscles and joints, which eases the pain you might get from standing.
The benefits of using anti-fatigue mats
Using mats like these have many advantages apart from improving blood circulation. For one, it improves your posture. When you are standing on a semi-soft surface, your feet are more conscious of keeping your balance. You find yourself making tiny shifts in your stance.
These shifts decrease the stiffness in your joints and reduce the pressure on your spine and back muscles. It means fewer instances of back pain and a lower likelihood of developing chronic joint ailments.
Using a mat in your stand-up workspace lets you relieve tension in your shoulders and neck, which decreases the chances of suffering from headaches. Furthermore, mats protect your feet. They reduce pressure and provide a way to insulate yourself from the cold floor.
Regularly using your standing mat will help you develop the stamina for standing up. With the right mat, you will barely notice that you have been standing for minutes on end.
Choosing the best anti-fatigue mat
There are plenty of things you have to take into consideration when choosing a desk mat. If you select a type made of the wrong material or something that is not ergonomic, it can make things worse. You can end up with even more pain or chronic aches!
It is challenging to practice standing at your desk for long stretches, so make sure you equip yourself properly and select the best standing desk mat for you.
It would help if you had a mat that keeps you comfortable and stimulated at once. Look out for these things when shopping for a mat that works with your standing desk.
Product specifications on the site
Examine the website where you want to make a purchase or the packaging of the item. A reputable company will have detailed product descriptions that list all the specifications. For standing desk mats, this means measurements for length, width, and height.
Companies include information on thickness and dimensions so you can gauge if you have enough floor space for shifting your weight. It also tells you how much cushion you have as support.
When you use a larger mat, you have more flexibility and can have expansive movements. You do not need to restrict yourself to shifting your weight, or moving from ball to toes. It does mean, though, that you will take up a larger floor area.
Thick mats have denser cushions than thinner ones. It means you will be more comfortable, and get more pain relief from your toes to your hips. Do not choose anything thinner than 1.5 centimetres, as mats like these will not provide you with the support you need.
What materials comprise the mat
Find out if this material is water-resistant or stain-resistant. This feature is essential in an office setting; you do not want to keep sending your mat out for cleaning because of spills. A high-quality foam will let water particles bead and practically fall off, making it easy for you to wipe the mat clean.
It would help if you also chose something that is puncture-resistant. Foam made of professional-grade polyurethane is an excellent example. It resists dings and scratches, which means you would be able to enjoy your mat for a long time.
Also, you could choose a mat with a non-slip bottom. When you place this item on a hard surface like wood or tile, it should not move. Mats that move under your feet are not only a nuisance; these can be a source of injuries too.
If you think you can get away with being perfectly still above a slippery mat, think again. When you are tired, you could forget that your anti-fatigue surface is prone to slipping; the slightest jerk could send you sailing. Avoid these and go for an anti-slip device.
Easy to store at the office
A standing mat should not get in the way of the tasks you have to accomplish at work. Most workdays are hectic, and you need something quick to set up and pack away.
Ask yourself if this mat looks like it is easy to move out of the way. A device like this should be easy to pick up and store in a cabinet or a locker, so it should not be too big that you can’t keep it out of sight.
An active mat vs. a flat anti-fatigue mat
Mats like these usually come in two variants. You have the active surfaces that have sidewalls and flat ones without contours. Active mats may have a massage ball in the middle, which adds a dynamic component to your standing routine.
If you are the type to get easily distracted by additional features, though, it would be best if you used an ergonomically designed flat surface. Flat mats aren’t less effective than active ones. Since they have more surface area for your feet, you have control over the types of exercises you can do on these.
On a flat mat, you can do ankle rotations, marching in place, and stretches. If you use an active mat, you can also do these, but a flat one lets you maximise the surface area.
Does this item have bevelled edges?
Bevelled edges taper off to the side at an angle from the highest point of a surface. This type of edge prevents deformities and curling at the edges. If your anti-fatigue device is entirely flat, it is prone to warping over time.
Bevelled edges provide you with more safety. If you have a completely flat anti-fatigue mat, it could cause you or others to trip on the curled-up sides. What’s more, a bevelled edge lets you step up or down from the mat easily. When you have been standing for a long time, this is a helpful feature.
Leaning into your health at work
A stand-up workspace helps you stay active and healthy. When you practise good posture while working, you can reduce the likelihood of developing chronic ailments like diabetes. A standing desk also enables you to improve your blood circulation and keeps conditions like arthritis at bay.
However, prolonged standing can tire you out, so keep yourself alert and comfortable with an anti-fatigue surface. Using an anti-fatigue mat will let you gain the benefits of using a standing desk while keeping your feet and legs relaxed and free from tension.
Anti-fatigue mats come in all shapes, materials, and sizes. Whatever you choose, make sure you have enough surface area for your stance and moving around. It would also help if you selected something thick, stain-proof, and durable, as well as something that you could keep away easily at work. If you find the best mat for you, your back and legs will surely thank you for it.