Standing is a simple task your body can accomplish without much effort, thinking, or planning.
However, the simple task of standing can turn into a chore if you have to stand in the same spot for long periods. It gets worse when you’ve got to do so frequently or even daily.
If you’re a professional baker or working as a cashier in a retail store, then you’re familiar with back pain, painful knee joints, and swollen feet due to prolonged standing.
The good news, however, is that these musculoskeletal disorders can be reversed by investing in an anti-fatigue mat that relieves foot stress.
However, a premium quality anti-fatigue mat comes at a premium cost which poses a problem if you’re strapped for cash.
That’s why in this article, we’ll be tackling how to make anti-fatigue mats with a rug pad at home.
Moreover, we’ll be looking at factors to consider when making or purchasing the mats, while answering commonly asked questions about them.
What is an anti-fatigue mat?
An anti-fatigue mat is a unique mat with special features and shock-absorbing properties designed to increase body support and relieve any pain or discomfort experienced while standing for long periods of time.
What are anti-fatigue mats for?
A hard surface impacts your feet and legs by causing the muscles to tighten and constrict. Therefore, blood circulation is slowed down and drowsiness kicks in due to low oxygen supply to the brain.
At some point, your feet feel sore, especially near the heels and the toes due to muscle cramping.
In the worst scenario, you might even experience persistent lower back pain.
Anti-fatigue mats are ergonomically designed to improve body support while standing to reduce such risks. They absorb shock and relieve stress when walking or standing.
Their benefits include:
- Reduce soreness by cushioning the toes, heels, and joints
- Prevent varicose veins by improving blood circulation
- Reduce back pain by improving lumbar spine support
- Increase comfort allowing you to work for longer hours
For a standing desk
Standing desks have been known to improve productivity in the workplace by boosting mood and energy levels.
However, standing for long periods causes swollen feet and lower back pain.
Introducing a lethargy-reducing mat not only improves your comfort but also energizes you to work for longer.
Unlike the flat hard surface, it’s softer and gentler to your feet hence allowing increased blood circulation.
For the kitchen
Whether you’re cooking or washing the dishes, standing on a hard surface will strain your body. If the periods are prolonged, it creates problems for your legs, knees, and back.
Using an anti-fatigue mat stimulates foot and leg muscles to increase blood flow. Better blood flow reduces muscle cramping and also causes less fatigue, as the brain has enough oxygen.
For back fatigue
Back fatigue results from standing still for a long time. An anti-fatigue mat encourages you to move or change standing positions constantly.
The changing of standing positions ensures that body weight and stress are distributed evenly across different back muscles instead of just a few.
For sore feet
Standing on a hard surface with sore feet isn’t only painful but also uncomfortable.
A lethargy-reducing mat, however, absorbs shock caused by standing, thus relieving the soreness from further stress. It’s softer to the feet and promotes blood circulation.
For better posture
When standing on a hard surface, there are limited postures that your body can do comfortably without lowering your productivity.
An anti-fatigue mat increases the range of postures your body can assume without the risk of reducing your energy.
Do anti-fatigue mats work?
Yes, they work.
Research has demonstrated there’s a direct correlation between weight-shifting and discomfort. Hard surfaces register higher discomfort and tiredness levels than anti-fatigue mats.
How to make your own anti-fatigue mat with a rug pad
To make an anti-fatigue mat with a rug pad, you’ll need the following:
- A rug pad
- A ruler
- A pair of scissors
- A pencil or a marker
- 4 small square-sized pads
- A working table
If you don’t have a rug pad, check out our premium collection of cushioned rug pads. Their extra layer of cushioning boosts their shock-absorbing abilities from foot traffic and makes it harder for them to slip.
Once you’ve gathered the tools, it’s time to get down to work.
Step 1: Place the rug pad on the table. Align it according to the table’s edges.
Step 2: Using the pencil and the ruler, draw on the rug pad your preferred measurements. The standard sizes include:
- 2 ft * 3 ft
- 3 ft * 5 ft
- 4 ft * 6 ft
The size solely depends on where you’ll be using the mat.
Step 3: Using scissors, cut along the edges of the lines you’ve drawn to cut out the mat.
Step 4: Gently place the cut-out rug pad on the area it’s needed. Don’t discard the remaining rug pad.
Step 5: From the remaining rug pad, cut out 4 square pads. Let each be 8 by 8 inches.
Step 6: Step on the cut-out rug pad and give it a test run.
Step 7: While the plain cut-out rug pad can lower weariness on its own, it can be improved by introducing features that promote subtle movements for better blood circulation.
To do so, stick the small square pads on the corners of the cut-out rug pad using super glue.
What to look for in anti-fatigue mats
When you’re looking to make or purchase anti-fatigue mats, consider the following factors depending on who’ll be using them and where they’ll be used:
- Comfort and support
- Ease of repositioning
- Interlocking property
The size of the anti-fatigue mats determines the amount of legroom available.
Large mats provide ample space to move around and change positions. On the other hand, smaller ones restrict leg movement which can add muscle strain and discomfort.
Thin mats provide little support. Let your mat be more than half an inch thick.
However, too much thickness isn’t great either. It may make the mat too soft to stand on. Three-fourths of an inch is the optimal thickness.
Although they’re just rugs to stand on, they don’t have to plain or dull. Accentuate them with your home or office decor by adding bright colors or creating interesting patterns on them.
Moreover, appealing aesthetics increase visibility, thus reducing chances of tripping over them.
Comfort and support
The whole purpose of anti-fatigue rugs is to provide comfort and support to boost your productivity when standing.
If it fails to deliver support and comfort and instead contributes to muscle cramping, stay far away from it.
Ease of repositioning
A good anti-fatigue mat should be easy to move from one position to another.
This comes in handy when changing working areas. For instance, from using a standing desk to a sitting study table.
Therefore, to allow ease of repositioning, it should be light, thus portable. Also, it shouldn’t stick to the surface.
Using the mat together with a rug pad ensures it doesn’t stick to the surface. The rug pad acts as a buffer between the mat and the hard surface, thus you can easily retrieve it and reposition it somewhere else.
Safety is an important factor to consider while making or purchasing a mat.
A slipping mat is a ticking time bomb. So is one that curls at the edges.
Therefore, they need to have anti-slip and anti-trip properties such as a good grip and beveled edges respectively.
Additionally, if the rug lacks enough grip, placing the mat on a rug pad gives it extra cushioning while keeping it in place. Also, a rug pad stops the edges from curling.
Durability determines the lifespan of the mat depending on its material:
The best material is one that increases the buoyancy and durability of the rug.
Unlike polyurethane that’s expensive, rubber is quite affordable and makes the best material for reducing fatigue. Rubber can stretch at least twice its size and still return to its original shape.
Therefore, rubber provides sufficient elasticity to alleviate foot stress.
On the other hand, polyurethane is the most expensive,but the most durable.
Interlocking anti-fatigue mats
In case standard rugs won’t work for your working space, interlocking anti-fatigue rugs allow you to join more mats together without disrupting their aesthetic.
FAQs about anti-fatigue mats
Here are some of the frequently asked questions to provide you with more information to guide your decision.
What is the best anti-fatigue mat?
The best anti-fatigue mat is one that has ample elasticity and durability to make you comfortable while standing.
It also encourages subtle leg movements to promote blood circulation. Finally, it doesn’t slip around, nor stick to the hard surface, making it easy to reposition.
How thick should an anti-fatigue mat be?
A mat optimized to lessen fatigue while standing up shouldn’t be too thin or too thick.
A thickness of three-fourths of an inch works best.
Where can I buy anti-fatigue mats?
You can buy the rugs from your local store, on Amazon, or make them yourself using a DIY guide.
Does OSHA require anti fatigue mats?
Presently, OSHA hasn’t made it compulsory for any industry to have anti-fatigue mats.
However, in its guidelines, "Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores," it has outlined the benefits of such rugs for workers in restaurants and retail stores.
Are standing mats worth it?
Yes, standing mats are worth it. Their ergonomic design provides feet and body support, hence lessening lethargy.
Are anti-fatigue mats waterproof?
Yes. Most are made from materials that are water-resistant and easy to clean.
Do anti-fatigue mats work on carpet?
Yes. They work on floors and also carpets. Consider using a rug pad to enhance the mat’s grip on the carpet.
How long do anti-fatigue mats last?
The mat’s durability depends on the material it’s made from.
Sponge-like materials last less, as they lose their buoyancy and flatten faster.
However, materials such as rubber, vinyl, and polyurethane are durable.
How do you keep anti-fatigue mats from sliding?
To keep the mats from sliding, place a rug pad below them. A rug pad cushions and keeps them in place.
Can you put a chair on an anti-fatigue mat?
No. It’s not recommended to put chairs on anti-fatigue mats. Chairs increase wear and tear, leading to loss of buoyancy and elasticity.
Can you paint an anti-fatigue mat?
Yes. However, do some research to ensure the paint you use is compatible with the mat’s material.
Is it good to stand all day?
No. It’s unhealthy and not comfortable to stand all day. It strains your body muscles causing musculoskeletal disorders and chronic tiredness.
If your work requires standing up continuously for a long time, consider switching things up with short walks and sitting breaks.
Are gel pro mats safe for hardwood floors?
Some, not all of them. Not all GelPro mats are safe to use on your hardwood surface. Some can discolor the hardwood.
Ensure that you check the GelPro mats are wood-friendly before making a purchase.
If you’re unsure you’ve got the right GelPro rugs, and to prevent any discoloration, place a rug pad below them. The rug pad will ensure your hardwood flooring is protected through and through from any discoloration and residue.