Anti-fatigue mats are a type of matting that is 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 anti fatigue mats 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 providing a softer surface to stand on which encourages micro-movements in the calf and leg muscles, preventing 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.
So now you know how Anti-Fatigue Mats work, the next question you might be asking is how beneficial they really are? There are actually many benefits that you or your workforce can expect to enjoy such as;
Standing up puts lots of pressure on the joints due to the vertical weight that they need to support during long periods of standing, but an Anti-Fatigue Mat can reduce this stress by ensuring that you make natural, frequent changes to your standing position and means that your weight can be spread evenly between both feet.
One of these mats also reduces heel-to-ground contact pressure which means that your feet are able to remain comfortable for a longer period of time and can support your whole body more effectively, allowing you to keep a strong posture while you are working.
Just remember that if you are working at a standing desk with a computer you must ensure that your computer screen is at a comfortable height so that you don’t find yourself slouching in order to see what you are doing as the day goes on.
Blood flows more freely around the body when you are standing up rather than sitting down, but when the body isn’t moving the heart has to work harder to ensure that blood is pumped around the whole body and this puts added pressure onto the vein network.
However, using an Anti-Fatigue Mat means that as small movements are being made to adjust to the mat on a regular basis both muscles and veins can relax which means that the heart isn’t put under as much stress, and this reduces the risk of circulatory problems.
When you are standing on a hard floor for hours you will often find that your joints become stiff which leads to shoulder and neck pain.
Pain in these areas tend to result in tension headaches which can really have an effect of your ability to work, but when you use an Anti-Fatigue Mat the cushioning beneath your feet will mean there is less pressure on the body so these headaches can be a thing of the past and overall joint pain will be reduced.
If you’re not feeling comfortable at work and are having the battle with various aches and pains every day this will mean that you are less productive due to being distracted by how you feel, plus you use up to 20% more energy when standing which means that you are going to tire quickly.
In addition to this, fatigue can set in after just 90 minutes of standing which mean that you really won’t feel like your best self.
An Anti-Fatigue Mat can combat these issues and increase your productivity in the workplace which means that it is both an investment into your health and wellbeing and one which will be beneficial to the company you work for too.
It is a known fact that slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of a major injury within the workplace, which is not only bad news for companies who may temporarily lose employees while they recover but is also something that may concern you during your working day.
Many Anti-Fatigue Mats boast a ribbed surface and are made from non-slip materials which means that standing on one of these reduces the likelihood of you slipping while at work and can help to prevent you from being another casualty to add to this worrying statistic.
Even if you don’t work in an environment where an Anti-Fatigue Mat could benefit you it may be that one could be useful in the home due to this non-slip feature, as they can be perfect for using while you wash the dishes to prevent turning your kitchen floor into a slippery, and potentially dangerous, surface.
With all of these benefits of Anti-Fatigue Mats to consider it is no wonder that they are becoming more popular both in the workplace and in people’s homes, as there are a whole variety of ways in which one could make your life that little bit more comfortable.
You can find out more about Anti-Fatigue Mats and view our range here: https://www.firstmats.co.uk/collections/industrial-mats-anti-fatigue