Why Home Cooks and Bakers Need an Anti-Fatigue Mat in the Kitchen
Cooking and baking give us some of the best opportunities to share our most human qualities—hospitality and nourishment. But stand at the stove top or kitchen counter long enough and it can take a toll on the feet, knees, and back. When you're spending a lot of time in the kitchen, there are some things can help, starting with the root of the problem: the feet.
Using the right mat to stand on can make a difference, particularly if you already have foot or knee pain. Anti-fatigue mats are different from standard rugs or carpet. They're designed not for simple softness, but with shock-absorbing properties. Their purpose is to provide support and alleviate aches and pain that emanate from standing on a hard surface for a prolonged period of time. Good mats are designed to stimulate the muscles in the feet and legs to increase blood flow and ease muscle fatigue. In ergonomic guidelines to retail grocery stores (that are recommended but not mandated), OSHA noted that good quality anti-fatigue mats reduce back and leg fatigue. Simply put, this means anyone can benefit from investing in one.
"Traditional rugs in the kitchen are not practical," says Elizabeth Granados, the founder of House of Noa, who created the NamaMat to fill the void of a practical anti-fatigue mat that is comfortable, easy to clean, and beautiful. "Our mats are made from super-soft, child-friendly foam that provide more support than a traditional rubber mat. Plus, you can just wipe clean!"
What to Look for in an Anti-Fatigue Mat
You should look specifically for mats with anti-fatigue properties. Thicker mats tend to perform best. "Consumers should consider the thickness and quality of foam," says Granados. "Our mats are 3/4-inch thick, made from phthalate-free polyurethane foam which provides that 'bounce-back' feeling when you're standing on one."
They work best on wood or tile floors where they can maintain a good, non-slip grip. A mat with beveled edges can help prevent tripping and a mat with an anti-slip backer on the bottom will minimize moving around in your kitchen she says. And they're not just for the kitchen! Anti-fatigue mats can be used anywhere you stand for extended periods of time—they're great in the laundry room, beneath your standing desk, or at your craft station.
Cleaning and Care
This is not the place to wear sharp heels. They can puncture the surface, damaging the ability of anti-fatigue mats to provide stress-relief and cause tripping. Granados recommends cleaning with mild dish soap and water. Be sure to completely dry after washing, and dry the floor underneath the mat regularly to prevent mildew.