I love my standing desk setup. Ever since I switched from a sitting desk to a standing desk about three months ago, my back pain has greatly decreased. Funnily enough, my productivity has increased as well. Apparently the more active posture while standing inspires me to be more intentional in what I spend my time on.
In a recent post, ChurchMag staff author Jeremy explained his thought process in electing the best standing desk for him. There’s one crucial element of a standing desk setup that he did not address however.
It’s a gel mat.
During a short stint at a convenience store last year, I discovered how big a difference standing mats can make when you’re on your feet all day. After buying my standing desk, I remembered those standing mats and how they had positively impacted my standing experience.
I did some research into gel mats and ended up investing in a good quality gel mat. I used my standings desk for two months without a mat and now that I use it with a gel mat I can tell you: it makes a huge difference.
Hugh quality gel mats can reduce your back pain when standing for extended periods of time, if this is something you are prone too. They also help against tired legs and feet by offering much more support than a cold, hard floor. This is my main reason for using one. Even after a full day’s work at my standing desk, my legs aren’t tired at all! A third benefit is a reduced impacts on your joints. Research has confirmed these benefits.
How to Choose the Right Standing Mat
As with pretty much everything, there’s wide price and corresponding quality range in standing mats. Another aspect to be aware of is the size. Some are deceptively small and wouldn’t cover the necessary ground behind a standing desk. Plus there’s the personal preference part when it comes to texture, colors, and thickness. I’ve chosen a thick gel mat for instance, but some people may find that irritating (those who are prone to trip over stuff come to mind…).
You’ll discover that many standing mats are ‘filed’ under kitchen products. That’s because many people also use them in the kitchen during cooking and prepping. It’s another place where people tend to stand for extended periods of time, with the same back pain and tired feet as a result.
Choosing a gel mat isn’t a quick decision. Take some time to compare various products on thickness, comfort level , colors, texture, etc. I’ve settled on a GelPro Elite and I love it, but it may not be the best fit for you. Consider these questions to help you decide:
- How many hours a day/week you spend standing?
The more hours you stand, the thicker a mat you need and the higher the comfort level.
- Would the thickness bother you?
I’m stating this because it will feel a bit like stepping on and off and may take some getting used to.
- How big is your standing area?
If you want to make sure your mat is big enough, cut out a paper of that size and try to stand on it. Do you have enough standing room?
- How important are the aesthetics to you?
Some of these mats may be perfect, except for their somewhat drab look. If you don’t mind colors like taupe, or cardinal, you could save serious money.
- Are there any extra demands, like being extra anti-slip, extra smooth, you name it?
You’ll be standing on it for extended periods, so be specific here.
- When reading through reviews, be sure to check what people are using it for. A standing mat for an hour of cooking is not the same as one for a whole day of standing. Look for positive reviews from like-minded customers as you!