Do You Need A Mat For A Standing Desk?
Tyson Sewell | Last updated Aug 4, 2022 | Published on Jul 24, 2022
If you’ve already taken the plunge and got yourself a standing desk, congrats. You might now be wondering whether or not you need to pair your standing desk with a standing mat, or at least what the benefits of using a standing desk mat are.
Whether you have tired or sore feet, or just want to know why so many people choose to stand on a mat rather than the hard floor, this article aims to give you all the information you could possibly need to decide whether or not you need a standing mat.
Which should you prioritise, a standing desk or a new office ergonomic chair? And if you have to pick only one of these two, which should it be? Should you change your work style to stand, or go for your comfort while sitting?
If you’re stuck deciding which is best for you, read on and we’ll unpick the differences. You might be surprised at the options you have, even on a limited budget.
What Are The Benefits Of Anti Fatigue Mats?
Sit stand desk users swear by them, but what are the real benefits of anti fatigue mats – here are some:
Being able to comfortably stand during the day might sound low key as benefits go, but to be at our best at work we need to be focused, and certainly not distracted by any pain or discomfort.
If you’ve gone as far as to consider using a standing desk, the chances are you know this is true already, as you will have benefitted from this already, experiencing a reduction in aches and pains and the associated improvement of your worklife.
The standing desk mat has been proven to reduce discomfort in users, it isn’t just us saying it – this study confirms it.
Improves Blood Circulation
When we stand for prolonged periods, the blood can pool in our lower body as the heart struggles against gravity to circulate it properly through our entire system.
On top of this, the veins and capillaries in our feet can become compressed, making it even harder for the blood to flow. If the person in question is spending a lot of time standing, over time this can lead to a number of problems, including heart conditions.
Using an anti fatigue mat can stimulate blood flow by encouraging us to shift slightly as we work, and reducing the compression in our feet, allowing blood to circulate freely.
Helps With Sore Feet
If your feet are often sore at the end of a day at the standing desk, one option is to buy better footwear. We recommend you do this too, but you should also consider an anti fatigue mat, either as well or instead.
Anti fatigue mats are made of soft, cushioning materials which will sooth your feet whilst providing enough support to keep you safe (and standing).
Helps Prevent Joint Pain
Our joints are amazing but sensitive systems which are capable of withstanding an incredible amount of punishment and strain. However, when you do one damage, it is liable to let you know about it, in the form of often quite severe pain.
A standing desk mat will help to protect the joints in two ways. First, the cushioning softens the impact of bearing your weight, and the grip of the mat keeps your legs solid so you don’t twist or slip.
Second, the imperceptible movements that standing desk mats encourage will strengthen the muscles that support your joints over time, as well as your core and postural muscles. All of this will help prevent joint pain and injury,
Makes You More Likely To Stand
To get the real benefit of a standing desk, it is of course imperative that you actually stand once in a while. However, many people who own or use a standing desk at work don’t fire it up anything like as often as they should.
The reason? They’re less comfortable standing than they are sitting. Anti fatigue mats are a big part of redressing that balance, so that you can find a better balance between sitting and standing.
Do Anti Fatigue Mats Help Back Pain?
The correct use of a standing desk is known to help reduce back pain, but do standing desk mats contribute anything extra?
Well, firstly we need to talk about why assuming a standing position for some of the day is good for the back – because a standing desk mats main role is to amplify this.
Standing desks encourage us to engage the core muscles which support our back and upper body, as well as the postural muscles and those in our legs and neck, all of which help take the strain from the back. And less strain will almost definitely equal less pain.
Standing desk mats help double down on this benefit by encouraging tiny movements while we stand, which helps us work these muscles more and increases the benefit and support available to the back.
The result of this, you will be glad to hear, is a reduction in back pain. This study of 16 back pain sufferers found a marked reduction in pain amongst those who adopted an anti fatigue mat into their work setup.
Do Anti Fatigue Mats Really Work?
Yes, anti fatigue mats work to increase your level of comfort, and reduce strain on your leg muscles and joints. Even if you’re only spending a short portion of your day standing, you should see a benefit if you include a good standing desk mat in your setup.
Are Anti Fatigue Mats Necessary?
So, really: do you need a mat for a standing desk? How necessary it is to use a standing desk mat depends to a large extent on you, the user. If you find that you suffer from sore feet, back pain, joint pain, excessive fatigue or just general discomfort, or if you often spend long periods standing at your desk, you may well find that an anti fatigue mat is beneficial to you.
For many, these reasons are compelling enough for them to use a standing desk mat. However, some people continue simply with good footwear and might never think it necessary to use one. If you stand very rarely or only work at a desk sporadically, you might not find it necessary.
How Thick Should An Anti Fatigue Mat Be?
An anti fatigue mat would ideally be at least 3/8 inch in thickness, but really you should be looking for a mat that is between 3/4 to an inch thick so that you have the best support and cushioning.
You should consider the environment you work in as well when choosing the thickness of mat. If you work in a high volume environment with lots of footfall and people passing by, you might want to opt for something thinner so as to offset the small chance of anyone tripping and falling.
If you work at home or in a quiet space, obviously this is less important. You should also consider the other dimensions of the mat, to be sure you have enough space to stand comfortably. If you plan to roll your chair on and off, of course it must be large enough for the chair to fit.
The material your mat is made from is also an important factor, and to some extent affects the thickness you should go for.
Foam Standing Desk Mats
The cheapest of the mat materials, foam mats are good for light use but might leave something wanting over longer periods. You should opt for a thicker foam mat as this will provide the most support and comfort.
Foam Rubber Standing Desk Mats
Combining foam and rubber layers, these are more durable and will be more slimline than their foam only cousins. Have the advantage of being easy to clean.
Rubber Standing Desk Mats
Strong and durable, these are the hardest wearing of all the mats. They are used mostly in industrial environments and although good for increasing comfort, do not have the same fatigue fighting qualities as other materials.
Gel Standing Desk Mats
Gel mats provide the most movement and thus have the greatest anti fatigue properties. Normally constructed of a gel sac contained in durable, easy clean materials, they are great for comfort and support, and are generally considered the best for extended and regular use.
Can You Put Anti Fatigue Mats On Carpet?
Not all mats will be suitable for carpets, so you should check before you commit to buying. Some mats are designed to be used on flat polished surfaces, and will slip if placed on carpet.
However, many high quality plastic mats are designed with dimples so that they can gain purchase on carpet and provide a steady and solid platform for you to stand on.
How Do You Use An Anti Fatigue Mat With A Chair?
We generally recommend pushing your mat under your desk when your not using it, for the simple reason that your mat will last longer if you do.
Using an anti fatigue mat with a chair is easy, so long as the mat has been designed in a way that allows it, or course. A simple, flat mat will present no problems.
For slightly thicker gel mats, look for a mat which has a beveled edge, which will allow the chair to mount and dismount the mat easily.
Which Is The Best Anti Fatigue Mat?
So, now you know all about anti fatigue mats, how they work and what they are good for, you need to choose one. But which are the best standing desk mats for you? Below we’ve listed a few great ideas to give you an idea of what’s available.
Anti-Fatigue Rectangle Standing Mat
This Rectangle Anti-Fatigue Mat is designed to perfectly complement your standing desk. It uses rubberised gel foam to provide the maximum in comfort and stability throughout the day.
Gel stimulates constant and tiny movements which keep your muscles and core working throughout the day, but also provides ample padding and comfort, so you should be free of sore feet and aching joints at the end of the day. This gel based standing desk mat is perfect for those who want the maximum comfort and health benefit.
Ball Anti-Fatigue Standing Mat
The Ball Anti Fatigue Standing Desk Mat uses a foam rubber material formulated for maximum shock absorption, and incorporates a beveled edge to prevent trips and allow your chair to slide on and off with ease.
More strikingly though, this mat has a ball built in so you can activate all those reflexology points and stimulate blood flow in your feet while you are working. So that means that, on top of all the usual benefits, you can massage your feet during your workday too.
Anti-Fatigue Stool Standing Mat
Standing stools have risen in popularity in tandem with standing desks, as workers look to maximise the possible positions they can take during the day. Even when the weight its partially off though, it’s still important to protect your joints, back and feet.
Which is where Anti Fatigue Stool Standing Mat comes in. This foam mat has a concave arc edge designed to meet the contour of any stools base, and is beveled to prevent trip hazards.
How Long Do Anti Fatigue Mats Last?
A good standing desk mat should last you between 2-3 years, but of course this depends on the amount of use it gets and the type of environment you work in. If you work in an office with heavy footfall, or if the mat is in constant use, you may find that it needs replacing after as little as a year.
In larger offices and organisations, you may find you can preserve the life of your mats by rotating to between areas of low and hi footfall. If well looked after, even in a very busy space, you should get a couple of years use from them.
We hope this article has been helpful, especially if you have been on the fence about getting a standing desk mat. Anti fatigue mats can improve not only your levels of comfort, but your energy levels as they day wears on, and can aid in keeping your core strong, and your body free from aches and pains. If you’re convinced, check out our full range to find which suits you the best.
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