Spending a lot of time standing at your desk instead of sitting is beneficial for your health. Unfortunately, if you are standing still for more than a few minutes, you will start to feel some pain in your muscles and joints. A good way to prolong your standing period is to use an anti-fatigue mat. It can even triple the time you spend on your feet versus sitting. A good anti-fatigue mat helps reduce lower back pain, improve posture, eliminate tension, reduce joint stiffness, and reduce fatigue. It is the first accessory you need to buy when you are switching to a standing desk.
When choosing to buy an anti-fatigue mat you will have to consider these important factors.
Type of anti-fatigue mat
There are 3 types of anti-fatigue mats based on the type of material they are made from.
The foam anti-fatigue mat is the cheapest available option. It provides sufficient support and comfort to help you work while standing. They are usually between 1/4” and 3/4” thick.
The foam rubber anti-fatigue mats are usually more durable than the regular foam ones but usually come at a higher cost.
These anti-fatigue mats are the most durable on the market, but offer very little comfort, making them more adequate for workshops than offices. This type of mat usually has holes that prevent particles and liquids from resting on the mat itself.
Anti-fatigue Mat Price
Price is also an important factor when choosing your anti-fatigue mat. A cheaper product will likely be made out of low-quality materials that are not only less resistant but also damaging to your health. Spending some extra dollars on a high-quality mat can guarantee that you are purchasing a product that will last longer and will fulfill its purpose of supporting your body.
It is important to know that different mats can withstand different body weights. This is why you will need to pick a mat that is best suited for you. If, for example, you weight 200 lbs and you buy an anti-fatigue mat that can only withstand 150 lbs, that mat will quickly lose all its properties and become useless. All good mats will have a weight range to choose from.
You’ll also want to stay away from a mat that is too firm or too soft. If it’s too firm it will not provide the proper comfort or circulation. If it’s too soft, it will make it difficult to remain stationary and move with ease.
The anti-fatigue mat thickness is also important. The optimal thickness can vary between 3/4 inches to 5/8 inches. This is enough to give you the right support without the mat being too soft to balance on, or too hard to stand on for long periods of time.
A mat that is too thick can also be a tripping hazard.
An anti-fatigue mat needs to be as durable as possible, as it will be heavily used. A cheap, low-quality mat will probably wear out fast and you’ll just have to invest in another one pretty soon. You’ll also want to make sure that the mat you purchase is highly resistant to stains, water, and punctures and that it can be cleaned easily with regular household products.
Before buying a product, check for the warranties, limitations, and guarantees on the anti-fatigue mat you wish to purchase. Make sure you are satisfied with what the manufacturer offers and your product is protected.
Beware of anti-fatigue traits
Be careful when purchasing such a product. Some manufacturers only offer regular mats with anti-fatigue traits. The products will generally be much cheaper, which should be your first warning sign. Mats with only anti-fatigue traits claim to have similar characteristics but they never produce the same benefits that real anti-fatigue mats truly provide.
Testing the Condition
If you’re unsure whether your anti-fatigue mat is still in good shape or not, here’s a good way to test. Simply step onto your mat, then down again and observe its reaction. If your anti-fatigue mat quickly returns to its original shape it is in good condition. If it doesn’t it means that it is old and overused and you will have to purchase a new one.
Other Things to Consider
Besides the important factor mentioned above, there are some more things to consider when buying an anti-fatigue mat.
Some anti-fatigue mats come with beveled edges. These prevent tripping and make for a smoother and safer transition from the floor to the mat.
OSHA Approved Yellow Striped Borders
Like the beveled edges, these too provide better safety, thanks to improved visibility.
Anti-fatigue mats that come with a textured surface provide a better grip, thus preventing any potential slips and falls.
These mats usually have drainage holes and slots that help drain any type of liquids to eliminate any slipping hazard. This option is usually available for mats used in workshops.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning your anti-fatigue mat, go with one that is stain resistant.
Again, a feature used by workshop workers. It keeps the anti-fatigue mat from melting due to high temperatures usually found in welding and manufacturing areas.
A good mat can certainly make standing in front of your desk much easier. To take advantage of all the benefits a mat has to offer make sure that you pay attention to all the factors mentioned above.
Remember that even with a good anti-fatigue mat you shouldn’t stand for too long. While standing has its benefits, doing it for too long can also lead to health issues. Read this article to find out what’s the best sit to stand ratio.
There are a lot more accessories you can use together with your standing desk to improve your experience and even lose some weight. Here are the 10 most used.