The Mat

I recently bought a standing desk. The basic idea behind it is to improve my health a little bit at home, because my life is currently mostly spent in front of a computer in my spare time. Since getting it, I’ve spent over a hundred hours standing up with it, and less than 2 hours sitting down.

The health benefits have been mostly positive so far. I have better standing and sitting postures, and the mental health benefit is great so far, knowing that I’m doing a small amount to live healthier in the face of a mostly sedentary lifestyle. I can’t claim weight loss, because the amount of calories consumed standing, while higher than sitting, isn’t enough to make a huge dent in the grand scheme of things.

There has been a downside, though. My feet hurt. My home office is carpeted, and I started by standing in socks. In recent days I’ve been wearing slippers, because the extra firmness puts off my feet hurting for a little longer, but I still eventually end up slowly shuffling from one leg to another, raising a foot off the floor for a short while to let it rest before switching to the other. It works, but it’s not a long-term sustainable solution.

Any amount of research on the web about sore feet at a standing desk will eventually lead you to try a mat to stand on. They tend to be referred to as anti-fatigue or standing mats, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, colours and materials, some suited for home office use, but some more suited to industrial or outdoor use, primarily for users wearing boots or shoes.

I decided to get The Mat, but certainly not for the cost — it’s easily the most expensive office-aimed standing mat on the market that you can easily buy, per unit area. What led me to finally go ahead with the order, despite not being able to try before I bought, was the picture. Someone wearing heeled shoes is shown standing on it, with no depression into the mat. I thought it was firm, which is what I thought I needed the most, after my feet hurting for weeks on my office carpet, and doing better with the added firmness of the rubber sole on my slippers.

Instead it’s rather soft, delivered to you rolled up in some low-key packaging. Despite not having high hopes for its effectiveness compared to carpet, because of the malleability, it’s streets ahead of the carpet and carpet-plus-slippers standing I’ve done so far. I’ve yet to put in a full day on it, but based on using it so far for the last few hours, I think I’ll be able to get to the end of a full 8+ hour day (plus breaks of course) using it in socks with only minor discomfort by the close of play.

It seems to handle my weight — 239lbs/108.4kg at the time of writing — well too, springing back to its original form after I step off, even after being stood for an hour. It’s spongy and quite soft, but seems to have good memory and support.

I’ll report back when I’ve done some extended sessions on it, especially the full working day kind of use. So far, so good.