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How do Anti-Fatigue Mats Work?

When you're standing all day at work, it's inevitable that fatigue will strike at some point, leaving you feeling not only tired but also with aches and pains. Anti-fatigue mats are specially designed to improve comfort and reduce the negative impact of being on your feet for long periods.

If you're sceptical about whether a mat can really make that much difference, the answer is a resounding "yes"! Scientific research has shown that anti-fatigue matting can correct balance and distribute the pressure from standing evenly between the left and right leg. By restoring a 50/50 overall balance, distributing your weight evenly, this substantially reduces physical fatigue and its symptoms, which can include joint and muscular aches and pains.

A report by the Occupational Health and Safety Centre, in Canada, states anti-fatigue mats also absorb the impact of walking, providing a cushioning effect that reduces foot fatigue.


What happens when fatigue strikes?

Anti fatigue mattingStanding for long hours can cause stress to your joints. Surveys show that around 50% of employees worldwide are experiencing some joint pain, with almost three-quarters having to stand for at least part of the day.

Leg joints are vulnerable to injury, as they continually withstand the impact of walking, running, standing and jumping.

In addition, standing for long hours can impact on the muscles: without sufficient rest, they can start to ache and become more vulnerable to injuries.

Lower back pain is also prevalent among workers who stand for four hours or more each day.

Moving around encourages the blood to circulate, so when you stand for long periods, it impacts on circulation, resulting in more pain and discomfort - including insufficient oxygen moving around your body.


What do anti-fatigue mats do?

Anti-fatigue mats are more than just an alternative floor surface. Whether you're standing at a workstation, or labouring in a manual environment such as stables or a factory, they can play a vital role in your well-being.

An employee's muscles and joints will adjust to the flexibility of anti-fatigue mats, unlike when a person is standing on a hard concrete floor, or other solid surface. Soft floor coverings like anti-fatigue matting reduce joint, muscle and tissue stress, leading to fewer aches and pains.

The mats enable your feet to experience micro-movements, encouraging blood circulation. This will increase the amount of energy reaching the heart, making you to feel better in general.




How do anti-fatigue mats work?

Anti-fatigue mats are specially manufactured to help you stand in a natural manner, which means standing with an imperceptible sway. This subtle movement of the calf and leg muscles promotes blood circulation. The cushioning effects of anti-fatigue matting and the continuous micro-movements of the feet minimise the stagnation of blood in the legs, helping stop workers from feeling fatigued.

A workplace study by Professor Redha Taiar, director of the Biomedical Laboratory of Reims University, in France, looked at the upright position of the human body and how it adjusted naturally to maintain balance. He also studied the pressure points of the feet when standing.

The study identified a number of causes of physical fatigue, including a theory based on the "Cinderella fibres" – namely the muscles that work automatically, doing their job even when they're exhausted. When we stand upright for a long time, these muscles continue to work in an automatic way, causing them to ache.

The second cause is imbalance due to our weight not being distributed evenly when we stand for a long period. This puts more pressure on our back and spine, leading to increased joint pains. Prof Taiar concluded the use of anti-fatigue mats corrects balance and distributes pressure evenly between each leg. Thanks to the mat’s soft surface, it efficiently restores a 50/50 overall balance, substantially reducing physical fatigue.

Workers participated in the study and the general consensus was that at the end of the day, their legs felt less fatigued, with fewer muscular and joint aches, when they had been standing on anti-fatigue mats. Conclusion: they’ve got to be worth a try!

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