The strain placed on the human body when standing for long periods is excessive. Many people think standing for long periods is natural, when in fact it can do serious and permanent damage to your body.
People that spend most of their day, whether at work or otherwise, run the risk of long-term health problems that will cause discomfort, pain, and in some cases disabilities.
Ergonomic standing mats, also called anti-fatigue mats, are a lifesaver for office and retail workers that are putting unnecessary tension on their feet, legs, knees, back, neck, and more.
What is an Ergonomic Standing Mat?
An ergonomic standing mat is a floor mat made of polyurethane rubber, foam, or gel to relieve pain and discomfort from standing for long periods.
Ergonomic standing mats come in a variety of sizes and materials, but the best ones utilize ergonomic designs that force the user to consistently make small adjustments to their stance. This can mean a slight curvature to the mat, small mounds of material that prevent you from staying in one position or raised points all over the mat to keep you moving.
All of these designs work to accomplish the same goal of forcing the user to adjust rather than be stagnant.
Do You Need an Ergonomic Standing Mat?
The answer is probably yes. If you are reading this, it means you spend a decent amount of your day standing in one place. This could be doing far more damage than you realize. Even if you aren’t noticing any discomfort or pain, that doesn’t mean your body isn’t being impacted by your position.
If you use a standing desk at home or work you need an ergonomic anti-fatigue mat to care for your lower limbs. Any individual that stands in one spot for more than an hour should be utilizing an ergonomic standing mat.
Types of Ergonomic Standing Mats
Anti-fatigue mats come in a range of sizes, styles, and materials that are made for different working conditions. To choose the best standing mat for your situation, you should understand what the different kinds of mats are best for.
Foam is the most common material used in mats but is not ideal for prolonged periods of standing. Foam mats are best for households or areas where you don’t stand for extended periods.
If you use one of these at work all day long, it will eventually sink to match your standing position, therefore not forcing you to move around. In front of the sink at home or for a register that doesn’t always have a cashier are the best uses for foam mats.
Foam and rubber
Mats made of foam and rubber are thicker than foam mats. The mat has a layer of rubber to make it durable and more effective in a standing work environment.
The rubber layer is harder and less prone to wear and tear, so these are great for office workers or cashiers that spend a good deal of time on their feet.
Hard rubber mats are the most durable and long-lasting. The mats are good for industrial work environments because they prevent slipping and tripping, but are not as ergonomically designed as foam or gel mats.
They aren’t ideal for preventing musculoskeletal disorders. But can add some comfort to the workplace. The addition of beveled edges on the mat makes them even safer in busy environments where people may accidentally trip and injure themselves.
Gel ergonomic standing mats are more expensive but make a bigger difference in your level of comfort. Gel mats are the best choice for office workers looking to reduce fluid retention and sore limbs.
Typically gel mats are designed with ergonomics in mind, so they work to keep your legs moving to improve circulation.
Where to Buy and Ergonomic Standing Mat
Ergonomic standing mats are available on Amazon and lots of other places. This article will help you determine which mat is best for you because there are different options out there as discussed above.
Sometimes online shopping can be overwhelming, but many resources can point you to the best mat for you and your workplace.
When shopping online, pay attention to customer reviews and if people who purchased saw a difference in their lower limb comfort when standing.
Consequences of Excessive Standing
Constantly standing while at work can result in a myriad of health problems and discomforts. Problems include sore feet, swelling of the legs, varicose veins, general muscular fatigue, low back pain, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, to name a few.
While these may sound like inconveniences, they can lead to chronic health problems. Listed below are the most serious and common health problems caused by standing all day.
Inflammation of the veins
This is caused by blood pooling in the lower body and limbs. It results in fluid retention that leads to swollen feet and can be quite painful.
Immobilized or locked joints
Immobilized joints start as stiffness in the morning and can slowly become worse. It can reach the point that you can’t turn your neck or twist your back the way you should be able to.
Rheumatic diseases have to do with your joints and bones. These diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause your immune system to attack your joints, muscles, bones, and organs resulting in incredible discomfort and arthritis.
Rheumatic diseases are painful and will follow people their entire lives even if they change their standing habits.
Benefits of Ergonomic Standing Mats
Ergonomic standing mats take a lot of pressure and tension off of your lower limbs among other benefits.
Improved Blood Circulation
Ergonomic standing mats that require you to shift your weight and change your position every so often help keep your blood circulating properly and prevent fluid retention.
Blood circulation is incredibly important in keeping your body healthy. Poor circulation causes body parts to ache or swell as the blood tries to reach them. It can also cause your body temperature to be thrown off making you unseasonably cold.
Thousands of workers suffer from pain and knee discomfort that could be solved with the simple addition of a standing mat. Sometimes people don’t place a high enough value on their bodily comfort, but general discomfort can lead to more fatigue and even clinical depression.
Easy on Knees
Your knees are one of the most used and abused joints in your whole body, so taking care of them will save you a lot of pain in the long run. Standing with your knees constantly bent or locked straight causes joint problems.
An ergonomic standing mat is designed to encourage you to shift positions frequently, bending and unbending your knees as needed. It also prevents you from putting too much pressure on the balls or heels of your feet which can affect your knees.
Less Spinal Compression
Has anyone ever told you that you’re shorter at the end of the day than at the beginning? Well, this is true, and it is because of gravity pulling your spinal vertebrates down throughout the day. This is just a part of life but does cause wear and tear on our joints and muscles, so anything we can do to reduce this compression is good in the long run.
Many people accept that after a long day at the office, you will be exhausted no matter what. This doesn’t have to be the case, as an anti-fatigue mat can help reduce the weariness of your muscles. Everyone wishes they had more energy when they left work, but you can if you treat your body right.
An anti-fatigue mat can make a huge difference in your daily energy levels, your muscle weariness, and your mental comfort, as being in pain is exhausting for your brain as well as your legs.
If you spend periods standing on your feet at work or home, an ergonomic standing mat is a smart investment to care for your body and ensure you aren’t overexerting your lower limbs.
Ergonomic mats are designed with the worker’s health and comfort in mind, and not utilizing them can lead to terrible health conditions down the road.
Before your knees start to ache and your back is sore, purchase one of these revolutionary mats to make your workplace more comfortable and your off-time pain-free.
Are standing mats expensive?
Depending on the size, material, and design, the price can vary considerably. Inexpensive mats can be found for under $30 and will still provide comfort to your lower limbs.
On the other hand, there are ergonomic mats out there that cost over $400 because they are specially designed to relieve joint and limb pain.
Is it better to sit or stand while working?
The answer is both. The mistake many workers fall prey to is not switching up their position enough throughout the day to keep circulation in your body and reduce stress on your joints and spine.
Both sitting for hours at a time and standing for hours have negative impacts on your health. The key is regular movement and variation.
Are there other ways to improve workplace comfort?
The best way to make your workplace a more comfortable place is to allow frequent changes in position. Whether this means standing after sitting for a while or taking a short walk after standing in the same spot for more than an hour.
Adjustable workstations, customizable monitors, and moveable keyboard trays can all work to improve the comfort of a work area.