Anti-fatigue mats are designed to help to protect people from the aches, pains and long-term health conditions that can be caused by long periods of standing on your feet.
In addition to varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles, and headaches, standing up for hours at a time can cause musculoskeletal disorders which are extremely painful and have the potential to affect the muscles, joints, and tendons.
The aim of an anti-fatigue mat is to create a comfortable surface for an individual to stand on while they work which will help to prevent work-related injuries, increase productivity, boost morale, and reduce fatigue.
It is often assumed that fatigue only occurs when we haven’t had enough sleep or when we’ve been physically active all day, but simply standing in one position for a long period of time can cause fatigue and some serious health problems.
One of the reasons for this is due to a part of our anatomy called the Venous pump. With each step we take, our calf muscles contract and squeeze blood back up towards our heart, the veins even contain valves to control the direction of blood flow. However, when we stand still this process does not work as it only springs into action when our leg muscles are relaxing and contracting like they do when we walk, run, or take part in other exercises. The result is that blood pools in the lower limbs and the heart has to pump it back around the body by itself which causes us to feel more fatigued.
It is this blood pooling in the legs and the increased pressure on joints that causes pain and discomfort, which can eventually result in a work-related musculoskeletal disorder if it is not diagnosed and treated where necessary. Musculoskeletal disorders can be either episodic or chronic so it is important that if you feel that you might be suffering from one you have this checked so that you can be confident that you won’t suffer from reoccurring issues in the future.
Due to the affect that gravity has on our bodies because of our upright position, we are designed to be moving rather than standing still as when we are stationary our muscles are required to tense to stop us from losing our balance. This causes greater fatigue too.
A study by Loughborough University found that just 90 minutes of continuous standing can cause an individual to feel uncomfortable, which may seem like a short amount of time to someone who spends their whole working day on their feet.
Anti-fatigue mats work by promoting micro-movements in the calf and leg muscles which prevent you from staying motionless. Although these movements are unnoticeable, they are enough to keep you slightly off balance which means that you will be constantly adjusting your feet rather than remaining in a completely static position.
This allows you to evenly distribute the pressure caused by standing up across both legs so that one is not trying to support more weight than the other, which will give you a better posture and means that you won’t be putting increased stress onto any of your joints.
Frequently making natural changes to your position will also reduce tension in your shoulders and neck, alleviate headaches, and take pressure off your back which is important if you suffer from back pain.
These movements also mean that your Venous pumps will be active, so blood will be pumped back to the heart rather than pooling in your lower limbs and causing discomfort. You will be less likely to suffer from blood circulatory problems which you can be at risk of if your heart is having to work harder as this puts more pressure onto the veins.
In addition to this, anti-fatigue mats work by providing a softer, warmer surface to stand on as standing on a cold hard floor lowers your body temperature which results in your heart having to work harder to warm you up which will also cause fatigue.
With this insight into how anti-fatigue mats work it is easy to see why so many people feel more comfortable and less fatigued when they have one of these to stand on while they are working. Although it is not a legal requirement for companies to supply them, the fact that they increase productivity and morale is often a good enough reason to invest in them, so why not take a look at the options today.