Home Health How can the science of anti-fatigue mats improve your daily life?

How can the science of anti-fatigue mats improve your daily life?

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Many professions which require extended office work have already adopted using sit stand desks as the gold standard in workplace efficiency. That has created the necessity to develop new and improved materials to sustain body weight and make you feel comfortable while standing for an extended time. Enter the ‘anti-fatigue mat’. These comfortable and cushioned mats can vary in size and composition depending on your needs and desires.

But what makes these mats so unique? Is it the material used?  Or the cushioning that eases tired and static legs (if you are not using an ‘active mat’ or a treadmill)?  Or is it some combination of all things?

Regardless, anti-fatigue mats can deal with the short-term tiredness that can affect those attempting prolonged standing at work – especially for those who have been spending the majority of their time standing for years. And this ends up being the case for most office employees worldwide.

What are the problems in those attempting prolonged standing?

The most severe effect of standing while working has to do primarily with the circulatory system as blood flows from the heart to the vessels it is pumped back to using the force of muscle strength.  When you stand up for long hours, the gravity makes  blood and other body fluids settle in  feet. That is the effect of reduced muscle activity while standing. This situation may gradually lead to the malfunction of the vein/pump system. That increases the pressure on the vessels walls and leads to long term damage and swelling.

How do anti-fatigue mat work ?

Anti fatigue comfort mats are developed to address the short-term fatigue and discomfort related with prolonged unexpected standing up at work.

These mats provides an elastic surface (sometimes which consists of recyclable materials). The standing surface stimulates automatic muscle activity in feet and legs. The proper circulation levels return, and any pain or tingles you felt should quickly subside.

Some mats will have rubber treads or designs to prevent any slipping on the floor (especially important if you have very smooth or polished floors)

Are their concerns related to their use at work?

There are three simple rules to remember each time you would like to use an anti-fatigue mat while standing up at work.

1)    You better start changing standing positions. There is a need to change your mindset about the way of standing up at work. It has been reported by surveys (www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/mats.html) that successful use of mats goes together with the frequent change in body stature while standing. This practice gives the best results for pain elimination and increases the satisfaction from the use of the mat.

2)    Give extra attention to the shoes you are wearing. If you choose the right shoes, then you can benefit a lot more from the use of the anti-fatigue mat. Shoes should be comfortable and follow the anatomy of the foot curb. Plus, they should support the ankle and heel so that movement can happen easily.

3)    Invest in high quality floors . It can sound irrelevant, but most of the pressure that foot bones and ligaments receive comes directly from the floor. Hard and rigid floors like the solid concrete can be most harmful for your feet.  Anti-fatigue mats work better on softer floors like wooden, laminate or rubber which provides a particular grade of elasticity. Fatigue and pain can disappear with use of a cushioned mat.

Which anti-fatigue mat fits my needs?

There are multiple products on the market that call themselves “anti-fatigue mats”. Make sure you choose the one that is right for you and pay attention to these simple suggestions:

You need to have good knowledge of the floor type you are going to use the mat you are about to purchase.  Non-slip mats are important for smooth and slippery floors.

Hygiene is important; the mat must be easily rinsed and cleaned. That applies particularly in place where food can be spilled (attention workers who eat their lunch at their desks – we’re talking to you).

Have a clear concept about the specific use of the anti-fatigue mat. How hard is your floor?  If you have concrete, you will likely want an extra thick, premium / deluxe mat to provide maximum cushioning. If you have carpeted or wooden floors, a AnthroDesk standard anti-fatigue mat may be sufficient. Are you trying to stretch out your tendons or calves? In that case, you may want an angled AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti Fatigue Mat to stretch while you stand at work. Do you want some moderate physical activity while also providing cushioning?  You may want to look at an AnthroDesk Active Mat that lets you wobble while you work in that case.

Science shows that anti-fatigue mats work

Independent researchers from the University of Michigan have studied the differences between standing for four hours on an anti-fatigue mat and standing on a hard surface (control condition). The study has shown that discomfort reduces after four hours of standing on mats compared to the control group.

These mats are made of advanced technology foamy and elastic materials that support the foot and follow its shape. That is how the foot discomfort may disappear in a matter of days after the initial use. It is evident though that anti-fatigue mats are one part of the tired feet equation. The other one depends on the lifestyle of each person using the mats to stand while working.

It is necessary to lose weight and exercise sufficiently to keep our muscles, bones and ligaments in good shape. Choosing the right shoes is also a factor that makes a huge difference in our discomfort issues while standing. Loose and comfortable clothing is also making a difference in the way our body perceives fatigue and exhaustion.

Anti-fatigue mats are the perfect aid for people who stand all day ; they can have a high impact on our wellbeing if we decide to  use them.  After all, don’t you deserve a better quality of life with less foot pain?  Make it happen using first quality products and improved solutions to enhance your everyday interactions.

*Effects of Anti-Fatigue Mats on Perceived Discomfort and Weight-Shifting During Prolonged Standing.

Neal Wiggerman and W. Monroe Keyserling, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

HUMAN FACTORS, Vol 55, No 4, August 2013, pp. 764-775