Why Your Kitchen Needs an Anti-Fatigue Mat
Your back and feet will thank you!
By Taylor Murray for Food Network Kitchen
No matter what type of flooring you have in your kitchen, you’ve probably felt the effects of a long day in the kitchen. Tired feet, aching back — it’s enough to make anyone want to order take-out. Take a tip from the pros and consider getting some anti-fatigue mats for your kitchen. Restaurant chefs often stand at the same workstation for up to eight hours a day, and almost all restaurants have anti-fatigue mats of some kind to reduce slipping and promote wellness for the cooks. In America, more than 60% of adults report having some kind of back pain. If you count yourself among this group, it’s time to consider an anti-fatigue mat.
Why You Need An Anti-Fatigue Mat
Even if you’re not exactly the next Bobby Flay, there might still be a spot in your house for an anti-fatigue mat. These types of mats are specially designed to be shock-absorbing, using various materials such as gel or foam. Maybe you spend hours in the garage or just invested in a standing desk — wherever you find yourself standing, if you are on your feet in the same place for more than 30 to 40 minutes a day, the constant pressure on your legs, feet and back can cause pain and long-lasting damage. Investing in a good mat can soothe (or eliminate) some of these issues. In addition to ergonomic support, floor mats can also provide traction, which reduces the risk of slipping and provides a layer between the floor and any dropped items or spills. Anti-fatigue mats come in a range of materials, sizes, designs and price ranges designed to suit any need.
Choosing An Anti-Fatigue Mat
With dozens of options on the market, it can be tough to figure out which anti-fatigue mat is right for you. Some factors you may want to consider are thickness, material, durability, size and color/design. As a baseline, most mats are at least 3/4 of an inch thick (any less and the material won’t support the weight of your body). It’s also important to choose a mat that is rated up to your personal bodyweight. A top-quality mat will return to its original shape even after hours of pressure.
Material is an extremely important factor when choosing a mat. Cheap mats won’t last as long, won’t grip the floor as well and layers may separate after a few months. Gel mats are known to be the best type of anti-fatigue mat as the gel is thick enough to support weight but will reform after the pressure is removed. All in all, no matter which material you choose for your mat, it will be an improvement from hard tile, wood or concrete — and, trust us, you will notice a difference.
As far as size, make sure to choose a mat that is big enough to cover the area that you will be standing in. For color or design, mats are mostly meant for function over form. However, some companies offer different colors and even patterns that mimic cloth or fabric rugs.
Where to Buy an Anti-Fatigue Mat
Most brands of anti-fatigue mat have their own website that you can use to order directly, and of course, but plenty highly rated options can be found at major retailers. If you feel that you need to go to a physical store to step on a few mats to try them out, Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Depot both carry a wide range of anti-fatigue mats.
How To Clean Your Anti-Fatigue Mat
Depending on the type of mat you buy, there are different cleaning methods. Most mats that are made of rubber with a gel or foam core can be swept and mopped just like any other kind of flooring. Some types of rubber mats can be taken outside and washed with a hose. Other types, such as the Nevermove mat by Gelpro are machine-washable.