ANTI-FATIGUE MATS, DO I NEED ONE?
October 30, 2020
This is a commonly asked question and almost always, my answer is no, you likely don’t need one. If you are considering purchasing a mat to stand on while you are using your sit-to-stand desk, evaluate the purpose of the mat and your usage habits and why you purchased the table in the first place before you make the investment.
Anti-Fatigue mats are typically used and highly recommended for workers who stand for long periods of time on hard surface flooring such as cooks, factory line workers, security guards, store clerks, etc. They need these mats to absorb the pressure of standing on a hard surface which can create fatigue for their feet, legs and back overtime. Without them, these workers will quickly experience discomfort and run the risk of injury.
If you invested in a sit-to-stand desk and you feel you need an anti-fatigue mat, you are likely not using that desk correctly and not taking advantage of its ability to allow you to change your posture frequently. The purpose of a height adjustable desk or table is twofold, it allows you to sit at the correct worksurface height and it affords you the ability to move frequently which improves your posture and comfort while reducing the risk of fatigue. Numerous studies have shown that transitioning from sitting to standing frequently, at minimum every hour, keeps your blood flowing, enhances alertness, and reduces the risk of injury.
When you follow the guidelines of frequent movement, the anti-fatigue mat now becomes unnecessary because, as indicated, its purpose is to protect a worker who stands for long periods of time. If you are sitting and standing at regular intervals your legs, feet and lower back have ample opportunities to rest. In addition, if a mat is on the floor where you both stand and use your chair, trying to roll your chair on to the mat to sit or moving the mat out of the way will become cumbersome and annoying quickly. If a mat is left on the floor with a chair sitting on it, the thickness of the mat hinders the movement of the chair casters and over time, the weight of the chair on the mat will cause the foam to compress and break-down reducing its effectiveness.
If you are a marathon stander at you desk, whether its by choice or because that is a more comfortable posture for you due to injury or other medical conditions then an anti-fatigue mat will benefit you and should be considered as an important part of your ergonomic performance strategy. There are a wide range of sizes and features available so you can easily find one that suites your needs and budget. Keep in mind that these mats are often made of foam so with prolonged use, they may need to be replaced periodically so performance is maintained.
Which ever way you go, remember to keep moving. The key to comfort and to reduce the risk of fatigue is to change your posture as frequently as possible, consider stretching exercises periodically throughout the day, take walks to increase your cardio and change the scenery and follow tried and true guidelines for using your chair, desk and technology. We can provide numerous resources to assist you with this so please contact us for further information on how we can help you Be Well.