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What Are Anti-Fatigue Mats And How Do They Work?

31st October 2022
What Are Anti-Fatigue Mats And How Do They Work?

Millions of employees spend hours of their day standing to do their job without anti-fatigue matting, whether behind a hotel reception desk, a shop floor counter, or a factory production line. Being upright and active has health benefits, but extended periods of standing can cause muscle and joint aches and pains alongside concentration loss and tiredness. But adding anti-fatigue mats into these standing areas will improve people’s comfort, helping them work safely and effectively for extended periods while reducing the impact standing can have. But what are anti-fatigue mats, how do they work, and are they really effective?

What is an anti-fatigue mat?

Standing for long periods at a workstation can cause physical stress on the body. Anti-fatigue mats are designed to relieve pain and discomfort while working. Adding them to workstations helps keep employees' muscles moving as they work, increasing blood circulation and reducing physical stress, tension, and fatigue.

What happens when you get fatigued?

Extended periods of standing can cause long-term health problems for your body. When fatigue sets in, joints and muscles can be severely affected, causing tightness, aches, and pain, making them more susceptible to injury. Lower back pain, already common in physical jobs, can also worsen. Crucially, fatigue will affect blood circulation, restricting oxygen flow around the body.

How do anti-fatigue mats work?

The job of an anti-fatigue mat is to improve circulation around your body, helping to reduce the muscle, joint, and back pain caused by standing for long periods. The mat’s textured surface is comfortable to stand on, helping to ease pressure on the knee and back joints. 


But its core design allows you to distribute any pressure build-up by encouraging weight-shifting and small movements that force the foot and leg muscles to keep moving, allowing for better blood circulation. Even while standing, this movement will create natural changes to your position, reducing muscle tension and joint pressure with improved blood circulation.


And suppose staff are standing on a cold, hard surface like concrete? Anti-fatigue mats provide an insulated surface to stand on, helping to reduce fatigue by retaining body heat that would typically be lost.


Do anti-fatigue mats really work?

Anti-fatigue mats have undergone various research studies over the years to find out if they actually work to reduce the physical pressures on the body. And the results of many studies show conclusive proof that they do.


One of the more recent studies, ‘Effects of Anti-Fatigue Mats on Perceived Discomfort and Weight-Shifting During Prolonged Standing’ published by Neal Wiggermann and W. Monroe Keyserling, from the University of Michigan in 2012, looked at “the effects of anti-fatigue mats on perceived discomfort and behavioural responses (weight-shifting between the feet) during prolonged standing.” 



With the participants standing on a range of four anti-fatigue mats and a hard surface, the results showed that the discomfort they felt reduced in three of the four mats compared with the hard surface, with frequent weight-shifting encouraged by the mats being a key driver. 


Instead of standing on a hard surface, the influence of the anti-fatigue mat’s cushioning means you make small flexes to maintain balance. This movement allows for greater blood flow, causing muscles to repeatedly tighten and relax rather than being tensed for long periods during standing.


While test results are subjective and individual, there’s enough evidence, with this and other studies, to suggest that anti-fatigue mats can reduce physical pain, fatigue, and associated symptoms.

Other benefits of anti-fatigue mats

The primary function of anti-fatigue mats is to reduce and alleviate muscular and skeletal aches, pains, and discomfort from prolonged standing and their negative impact on people’s health and wellbeing. So besides these real health benefits, what other advantages can anti-fatigue mats bring to the workplace?

Increased productivity

A happy workforce is a productive workforce, so employees who are in good physical health and happy with their workstations are likely to be more productive as a result. Absenteeism through ill health, or even presenteeism and having to work longer through pain, will reduce dramatically, and productivity and efficiency will increase thanks to the benefits of an anti-fatigue mat.

Reduced slipping

Anti-fatigue mats are designed for use in various working environments without slipping. Mats used in indoor retail and commercial areas, such as shops, hotels, and offices, will have a non-slip texture on the reverse to keep movement to a minimum. In comparison, mats used in kitchens or wet working areas will have anti-slip and anti-skid qualities on both sides for safety. 

Better posture

When muscular and skeletal aches and pains start, they can affect your posture and how you stand, which isn’t good for your health or job efficiency. An anti-fatigue mat has a design that promotes small movements and encourages blood flow, helping to maintain a better posture while tackling fatigue.

Cold floor insulation

Cold flooring is unforgiving. Standing for long periods at work is bad for aches, pains, and circulation, but cold floor fatigue can worsen it. The cold from hard concrete floors will gradually work up through the feet and into the legs, causing pain and a probable lack of motivation and productivity. Anti-fatigue mats will provide a layer of insulation for a more comfortable experience.

Protection from injury

Health and safety in the workplace is crucial. And together with the anti-slip and anti-skid qualities anti-fatigue mats offer for different surfaces, many types also feature low-profile edges and lay-flat technology, so the mat itself doesn’t become a trip hazard.

Easy cleaning

Depending on where you position them, anti-fatigue mats in typically low-traffic areas, such as behind counters and reception desks, can be cleaned regularly by vacuuming. But the rubber anti-fatigue mats used in kitchens and wet areas can easily be wiped down, washed, and cleaned. 

Sound absorption

Mats and coverings in any workplace will naturally act as sound dampeners. But alongside their benefits for muscles and joints, many anti-fatigue mats are also designed to absorb loud noise and vibrations. These are ideal for work environments that use loud or heavy machinery. 

The best in anti-fatigue mats and flooring from MatsDirect UK

Anti-fatigue mats can bring real benefits to your employees and your business. Providing these versatile and high-quality products can reduce pain and discomfort and combat genuine health issues in any commercial, industrial, or retail sector.


Contact us today by sending us a message, calling our customer service team on 0161 797 6785, or emailing today. Our experienced MatsDirect UK team will work with you to find the most suitable products for your working environment and give you a quote for any standard and bespoke cut-size, anti-fatigue floor mats to suit your needs.



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