Standing desks and standing desk mats are an investment that everybody is looking in to at the moment. They’re becoming increasingly well-known as modern culture is changing and shifting to a world where more and more people are sitting down for longer, this starts from the morning – eating breakfast, to commuting on a train, or in a car / bus and then sitting down for a further 8 hours at work behind a desk. This, along with leisure time in the evening – sitting down watching TV or on a computer at home also, the average person is sitting down for 15 hours a day. The American medical association are in agreement that sitting down for long per
Sitting every day can be very damaging to your health, our human bodies are not naturally designed to be in the sitting position. The AMA recommend modern workplaces to look into the new standing up culture and embrace a healthier working environment for staff – this is where standing desk mats can help.
Interestingly, when you sit down – your metabolic system makes some drastic changes to compensate the unnatural position. In modern culture, our bodies are quite literally breaking down from many health problems such as depression, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. Scientists and health professionals have rounded up all the health problems associated with sitting down and called them ‘sitting diseases‘. They have found out that 50% to 70% of people sit down for an average of 15 hours a day, 4 of these hours for 20% – 35% of these is just watching TV, a somewhat sedentary activity. This very same study revealed and found out that a highly sedentary lifestyle which affects a lot of people in today’s world shortens their life expectancy by many years. For every 1 hour that you sit down, you can expect to lose 2 hours of your life – this is chilling, hard fact. Experts in the field are agreeing more than being active doesn’t mean running around and doing high physical exercise – it simply means being more mobile and dynamic during the day.
There are many ways to combat ‘sitting disease’, here are just a few ideas of what you could do, they’re simple changes that make a big difference
- Use a timer to encourage standing up, every hour for a short period
- Rather than playing sit down games, get games like WiiFit which encourage health gaming
- While making phone calls and on your mobile – try walking round
- Count your steps using a phone application or pedometer and try to improve the amount of steps you do each day – set yourself targets
- Rather than getting an escalator or life, take the stairs
- Use a standing desk mat to help courage comfort while standing up
Little changes like these can make a huge difference and all this counts towards being more active during the day. As well as increasing your life expectancy, you may lose a few pounds and being more active can help reduce stress as well so you have nothing to lose! Such a simple change can make a huge difference.
Los Angeles times contributor Karen Ravn told the paper “The chair is out to kill us”. Interestingly, Levine’s research study showed that a typical person who works behind a desk will burn on average 300 calories during a full working week; which isn’t that much. Whereas a person who has an active standing up job will burn up to an extra 2000 calories on top of this. She even suggests that investing in office furniture such as a treadmill desk and a standing desk mat can help increase productivity and health. She did mention that one big problem she had with this new working way is ‘the compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk’.
If you’re going to be using bare feet or shoes on the standing desk mat then you may want to consider one that has antimicrobial features and properties which means that the standing mat will naturally fight off bacteria and means it will clean easier, if not the standing mat will grow visible bacteria after a short period which isn’t the best!
Benefits and Features of Standing Desk Mats
Using a standing desk mat will help increase posture as well as provide general support for your feet and relieve extra pressure that is on your feet while you stand, this includes your heels, back, legs and it affects your shoulders, increasing the comfort of pressure on your feet will affect all these parts of your body, this ultimately helps you to stand longer. When searching for standing desk mats to buy, make sure you do your research and look at a lot of review as some may let off toxic smells from the chemicals in the plastic / rubber and from the antimicrobial coating. This may give your room a subtle smell.
Standing desk mat desk users often see themselves in a bit of a weird situation. Most people who at work are required to be on their feet all day – wish that they could sit down, but those who sit down all the time, wish they could stand up. Regardless of this – both sides agree that with the use of an standing desk mat, users can cut the risk of injury as well as the added benefits of standing that improves your circulation and helps you move around more during each working day. Next time you’re out and about take more notice to employees who stand up, such as till assistants in supermarkets often have a standing desk mat behind the till as well as a height adjustable seat as well – as they are expected to stay in that same area behind the till; sometimes all day. You will also see them used in restaurant kitchens where the anti-microbial features becomes even more essential. You may also find anti-fatigue standing desk mats in factories as well.
Researching the right type of standing desk mat not only for yourself but for your environment is also imperatively important. Some are specifically designed for only a few years lifespan on a dirty factory floor and are designed to work the best in conjunction with existing comfortable footwear. Others are designed for people at home who may just be wearing socks or nothing at all on their feet and may only use it for an hour while washing the dishes, or checking emails and social media on their computer. At the other end of the scale you could have people who also want the mat to be a design piece in their home and may be after a fancy standing desk mat with animal skin or print to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.
What should you look for?
Investing in a high quality standing desk mat should be the first priority when purchasing a standing desk mat, when we’re talking about health it’s good to get quality – if not your health may suffer with bad quality products. You want a good standing desk mat that offers enough support and takes the pressure off your feet so much that it allows your feet to sink into it – but not too much; it’s all about finding the right balance. If it’s too squishy, then your feet will sink through the standing desk mat and this is actually worse than standing on a solid floor, if it’s too think then this will also leave you unsupported as your feet will be touching the solid floor offering minimal support. If the standing desk mat is too thick it has the same effect as standing on a mattress. The best thickness for a height adjustable standing desk mat is around half an inch and 7/8ths of an inch thick. Make sure the anti-fatigue mat is durable, long lasting and is also easy to clean with an added anti-microbial layer on it to discourage bacteria growth. It also needs to lie flat and have beveled edges which means it will not curl up on the edges – this over time can get worse and create a tripping hazard; which is especially bad if being used in a workplace because if it causes injury to an employee or customer can have extremely negative consequences.
When you live a lifestyle that means that you are on and off through the day, it is all too easy to take ‘that well deserved break’ and sit on a chair with the standing desk mat still in the way, however the mat really should be easy enough to be moves as this will make sure the longevity of it, if not – it will wear down in places and the pressure of the wheels of the chair will imprint permanently and ruin the structure of the mat.
In conclusion there are many benefits of a height adjustable standing desk, we have looked at both sides of the argument for them being useful, but make sure if you do invest in a standing desk you also invest in the right standing desk accessories like anti-fatigue standing desk mats. It has been proven by scientists and health experts that standing increases productivity and the users have reported that they feel more alert during the day.
Make the change today and invest in a height adjustable standing desk, it will improve your energy levels, health and you may also shed some pounds as well.
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