The Ergocomfy Standing Desk Mat Review

ergocomfy203-800

The cute & popular Butterfly Standing Desk Mat we reviewed in October is a definite favorite and conversation piece in our office due to the fun shape and very decent quality you get from rather inexpensive standing desk mat.  For 2017, the same maker has stepped it up a notch and designed a performance mat to better compete with the higher end mats out there.

Their new high end performance standing desk mat is called the Ergocomfy Mat.

It’s packed with features and we’ll cover them here.

ergocomfy-features

Anti-Fatigue

This is the most popular reason mats are purchased.  Antifatigue mats and comfort mats have been proven to decrease knee, back, and neck soreness and increase productivity.  Anti-fatigue  mats are essential and often used where workers stand to help ease foot, leg, and lower back pain and fatigue.

Calculated Terrain

They advertise that you can use 10 different standing positions on this mat.  This may sound confusing, but it’s actually a very important part of ergonomics.  Standing in one place has been shown to be almost as bad as sitting.  To optimize the use of a standing desk, it’s important to shift and change position often.  This releases tension and improves blood circulation.  A mat that has terrain encourages you to change your stance, especially when your shoes are off.

Massage anyone?

The Ergocomfy has massage bumps integrated into a protruding “exercise” section.  This enables you to dig those bumps into various parts of your feet to stimulate pressure points.  In these areas on your feet, there are thousands of nerves.  In fact, there are over 15,000 nerves in your feet alone!  That’s why reflexology, a method of massage also known as zone therapy, has been practiced for thousands of years.

While so far there is no scientific evidence that reflexology is effective for any medical condition, millions of people swear by the stress relieving effects they feel from having their hands and feet properly stimulated through pressure points.

How’s it compare?

We set up the mat side by side against one of the most popular terrain standing desk mats, the Topo (that we reviewed last year).

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Size Matters

We will start with the most obvious difference — Dimensions.  Ergocomfy has a whopping 24″x36″ size which provides you with a larger space for standing.  In comparison, the Topo is 26″x 29″. The larger width encourages you to occasionally or often take a wider stance.  As a 6’1″ standing desk user, this is very important to me as my long legs prefer a wider stance than the Topo has room for.

Density

The Topo seems slightly more dense to me.  Although I don’t see any immediate benefit from increased density for my usage, considering the Ergocomfy is dense enough to do the job.  Both mats appear to be made of quality material that won’t fall apart anytime soon.

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Terrain

As for terrain features, the Topo has a center bump, but I haven’t found much use for it.  They both have the raised corners for sliding and positioning the mat by using your feet and can also serve to angle your feet for stretching your calves — equal points there.  However, after trying the massage bumps with socks, I’m leaning towards the Ergocomfy on terrain features.  The bumps feel great and I find myself often squishing my feet into them.

Conclusion

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The Ergocomfy terrain and wide surface area makes it my new favorite mat in this price range and will be replacing the Topo I have been using for the last year.

 

The Butterfly Standing Desk Mat Review

I’ve been writing about standing desks for a few years now and there’s one issue that easily ranks as the #1 concern i’m asked about. That would be the fear of pain and fatigue associated with standing for any long period of time.  Not many people typically enjoy standing around much.  It’s not very comfortable, and often results in fatigue and back or leg pain.

Why would one willingly expose themselves to standing more when a chair is available?

Because chairs are the equivalent of prison cells for your body. You can’t move. Health and vitality relies on movement. You need to free your body from it’s imprisonment and move around *most of the time* to improve or maintain your health.

Now back to comfort and reducing pain.

How do we stand and move more and reduce the discomfort at the same time? Well, standing more often strengthens your body and joints which results in less fatigue over time. But there’s a shortcut — that’s a standing desk anti-fatigue mat.

We’ve talked about standing desk mats before — and they’ve come a long way since the boring rectangular ones made for standing at your kitchen sink.

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I’ve had the opportunity to review a brand new one called the Butterfly Mat. It’s built with function in mind, but is the first of kind (that we’ve seen so far) that also focuses on the aesthetics. Your workspace is where you spend a lot of time and should inspire you, it should be an aesthetically pleasing space.

Below are some of the advertised features:

➤ The calculated terrain encourages healthy movement while supporting the user with incredibly comfortable environmentally-friendly supportive foam

➤ Contoured beveled edge design and no-curl edges prevent tripping hazard

➤ The massage points activate blood flow and engage more muscles than simple standing mats are able to

➤ Butterfly center “teardrop” further drives movement and the ankle range of motion

➤ Easy hands-free edge position lets you slide the mat on various floor surfaces

➤ Thickness ranges from from 7/8″ (min) to 1 2/5″ (max) to enable the user to adjust their standing posture so as not to become fatigued by standing in one position

➤ A front contoured beveled edge design provides a foot prop for split stances and is specially designed according to the ergonomics for standing comfortably

Butterfly Standing Desk Mat
We spent a few weeks on this mat and can confirm that the foam is, in fact, extremely comfortable. Not too firm and not too squishy. Feels best without shoes. We each spent several hours at a time standing on the mat and had no aches and pains in the joints or heels.

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Looks wise, the butterfly shape is clever. It provides an ideal amount of space for movement, which in turn seems to somehow inspire movement. The smaller bumps didn’t do much for me but I definitely found myself balancing on one foot on the center bump occasionally — or going for a stable wide stance, depending on my mood.

The beveled edge is almost a requirement now. I wouldn’t recommend getting any mat that doesn’t have this feature. Very important and the butterfly mat has it on all sides.

Besides that, it’s lightweight so it’s easy move and put away. Overall it’s a very fun, economical, and capable mat that will definitely do the job while looking good at any standing desk.

 

The Best Standing Desk Mat: Topo Mat Review

A good “anti-fatigue” mat is an essential part of any healthy standing desk ergonomic configuration.  Yes we’ve covered a few standing desk mats before, explained what to look for, and made a verdict.  However, it was before we tried this one so we’ll present you with our Topo mat review.

The Topo Mat Review Top View | Best Standing Desks

Ergodriven’s Topo Standing Desk Mat is part anti-fatigue mat and part mini-gym for your feet.  You typically buy an anti-fatigue mat as part of proper ergonomics to avoid foot and lower back pain while standing, and well, fatigue.  Why not spring for something that has unique standing desk benefits and can do more, for just as much as you would spend on a premium mat designed for standing desks?

Ergodriven, an ergonomics company based out of San Francisco,  is on a mission to eliminate flat surfaces, which is why they created a unique mat designed specifically for standing desks.

Topo Standing Desk Mat Blue Side View

Key benefits for standing desks users:

  • Unique ergonomic shapes that subconsciously encourage you to move
  • Comfortable, soft and polyurethane surface feels good for hours

With this mat, movement is natural and thought free

Topo Standing Desk Mat In Use

The first thing you’ll notice about Topo is its bumps and lumps. They may look a little strange, but I can assure you they’re not a manufacturing defect.

Topo is designed with “calculated terrain” to subconsciously encourage you to move. Some studies suggest that, while still better than sitting, standing for long periods of time on flat surfaces comes with its own set of potential problems.  Topo aims to eliminate those problems.

Both my wife and I agreed that the sessions at our standing desks felt improved and upgraded with the Topo.  The mat’s odd shapes actually encouraged us to move around and we often find ourselves stretching our calves and ankles.

Topo Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat In Use

Topo doesn’t force you to move like a treadmill desk—it makes you subconsciously want to move. I think this distinction is one of the main reasons for the mat’s success—it doesn’t feel like work. You get the benefit of movement without any conscious thought.

Comfortable surface, especially for shoe-less standers

While Topo can be used with shoes, socks, or bare feet; but I suggest you take the shoes off, that’s where the mat really shines and you can expect the best experience.

Topo Standing Desk Mat Blue

The mat’s polyurethane surface feels great and somehow keeps cool even during periods of long use. It’s also got just enough cushion to be comfortable while still maintaining a solid surface. 

If I had to rack my brain to find a shortcoming about this product — I’d say that because of its size, the mat can be difficult to move, which might be an issue if you have an adjustable standing desk and like to switch between sitting and standing often. Ergodriven designed the mat so that you can move it with just your foot (if you’re not on carpet), but the mat is still large enough that moving it aside requires the space to store it. On the upside, this might encourage you to just stand more, which isn’t really a bad thing by any means.

Also, because of the mat’s odd lumps and shapes, there’s a small chance of it becoming a tripping hazard (ask me how know this). Not a major issue once you know it’s there, but something to consider, because I don’t think tripping into your monitor is the type of movement Ergodriven envisioned.

Final verdict

Yes, standing is way better than sitting.  But you do get the most benefit from using a standing desk when you’re actively stretching and moving around.  The Topo anti-fatigue mat separates itself from other standing desk mats with its unique calculated terrain. The shapes really do subconsciously encourage you to move around, making long standing sessions much more active, comfortable, and the surface feels better than any other mats I’ve tried.  

All things considered, Topo is unquestionably the most unique standing desk mat out there.  Seriously, get one now.

Topo Standing Desk Mat by Ergodriven Front View

Product Info & Specs:

Colors: Black, Grey, Blue, Purple, Green
Dimensions: 25.5″ x 28″
Weight: ~7 pounds

 

Four Reasons a $22 DIY Standing Desk is a Bad Idea

The story of a $22 standing desk made of an IKEA coffee table and screwed-on shelf has gone viral.  Named the Standdesk 2200, it was built by Colin Nederkoorn, the CEO of Customer.io.

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Huffington Post called this coffee table placed on top of a desk the ‘Ultimate IKEA Hack’.  Colin claims that it’s a cheap alternative to spending $800 on a proper adjustable standing desk.

Here’s why I feel like that’s a side order of baloney:

1. It’s simply not adjustable.  Along with extended sitting, standing all day is also not a good idea.  The CDC recommends using a sit-stand device to take breaks from standing. With a non-adjustable DIY setup like this, every time you take break from standing, it means you’ll need to stop working, because you’ve lost access to your workstation until you’re ready to stand up again.  What about days your legs and feet hurt from the hike or when you’re sick?  Chances are you’ll need to rearrange your desk, and unfortunately some folks may not go back to standing again.

2. Different users need different height settings for proper ergonomics.  If the computer is shared by a wife, friend, coworker, roommate or child they need to be able to alter the height of both the keyboard tray and the monitor.  Remember that at a traditional sitting desk, each user typically adjusts the chair height to a comfortable position.

3. Contrary to Colin’s claim, you don’t need an $800 product to be equipped with a proper adjustable standing desk.  Stand Desk has a $200 UpTrak that’s been flying off the shelves, and the $325 Varidesk is an elegant conversion setup that fits on top of your current workspace.  Budgeting out a $200-300 furniture investment over the course of even just a year is less than a $1 a day, but will last you many years of healthy & ergonomic computing.

ikea standing desk4. No matter what color you paint an IKEA coffee table on top of another desk, it simply looks terrible. Your friends (and dare you do this at work, your coworkers) will compliment your creativity but secretly laugh at you and think you’ve lost it for stacking tables (and especially for calling it the Standdesk 2200).

Listen, jokes aside, a DIY approach is a fine way and entry to the health benefit filled world of sitting less.  Colin’s desk is a fun and creative project and yes you could get by for a few days by using some shipping boxes to see if standing is for you.  Just promise yourself that once you decide to adopt sitting less at your desk, you’ll treat yourself and your desk with the same respect and ergonomic awareness you would a comfortable chair and consider making the investment in one of the many affordable standing desks available today.

 

Images by quietkid, estherbester.

Standing Desk Mat Buyer’s Guide

Desk treadmills are great, but among all the best standing desk accessories, the standing desk mat may just be the most important.  But why do you really need a mat for standing desks?

The shift to standing more often can take the body a little time to adjust.  There is a chance of soreness throughout the body as your muscles and joints tone and strengthen.  Even with comfortable shoes, a standing desk floor mat will help take some of the strain off your knees and back which will lead to being able to stand longer.

best standing desk matThat’s why you see anti-fatigue mats in factories, restaurant kitchens, cash registers and anywhere workers are standing for long periods. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends using anti-fatigue mats, along with varying standing positions and wearing comfortable, supportive footwear, to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

I was surprised how well this simple pad helps delay fatigue compared to standing on a hard floor.   When I first started using a standing desk, I was having trouble standing for more than a few minutes at a time.  This was somewhat frustrating.  At first I didn’t think a standing desk mat would make a difference since our office is carpeted, but I was very surprised at how much it helped.

Not all mats are the same.  Some are designed to be durable and survive dirty industrial warehouse conditions and some are for occasional kitchen tasks.  The best standing desk mats should meet certain requirements.

Here’s what I look for:

Material:  Mats may contain vinyl, PVC, rubber, closed-cell foam, and polypropylene.  A goods standing desk mat will offer enough support to take the pressure off your joints without being too squishy and should have a polyurethane cover.  Polyurethane is durable, very easy to clean, won’t leach chemicals or off-gas like PVC or certain foams, and is resistant to mildew and dirt.

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Size: Moving around is an important part of maximizing the health advantages of using a standing desk. You’ll need some room for that.  We recommend a medium mat (20″ x 34″) for smaller workspaces and cubicles and a large mat (24″ x 36″) for larger workspaces

beveled-edge

Edge: Should absolutely have beveled edges to avoid curling and essentially a tripping hazard.

Thickness: Most of the sub-$50 mats are only going to be less than 3/8″ thick.  In my experience (and with paying attention to how my back and neck felt) this is not enough.  The best mats we found were all between 1/2″ to to a full inch thickness.  Aim for 3/4″ thick or better.

Cost: Your work environment is where you spend hours every day standing.  It’s important to remember that there are times it’s worth spending a little more when health & injury prevention is a factor.  That said, don’t go overboard either: both our picks are under $100.  Spending more than that isn’t going to get you much more in terms of benefits.

Without further ado, the best standing desk mat:

Imprint CumulusPRO™ Commercial Grade Anti-Fatigue Mat

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These durable mats are made with Cushion-Core Technology to reduce fatigue and increase comfort and productivity.  The environmentally friendly and non-toxic one-piece polyurethane construction and high-density core is guaranteed not to lose support over time.

Beveled edge design and no-curl edges reduce trip hazard while the non-slip bottom keeps mat in place.

All Imprint Comfort Mats come with a 100% unconditional lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) & Tested and certified by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI)

Large size (24″ x 36″):

Imprint CumulusPRO Commercial Grade Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat 24 in. x 36 in. x 3/4 in. Black (Kitchen)


List Price: $79.99
New From: $58.39 USD In Stock
Used from: $72.20 USD In Stock

Medium size (20″ x 30″):

Imprint CumulusPRO Professional Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat 20 in. x 30 in. x 3/4 in. Black (9020) (Kitchen)


List Price: $39.99
New From: $29.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

 

If you plan to stand for even a few hours a day, buy this mat now.  You’ll soon realize the return on your investment when you feel the reduced fatigue allows you to transition to standing longer.  There’s no better accessory to your adjustable table or conversion standing desk.

Standing Desk Tweaks for Long Term Success

Here is a great article from Fast Company about Standing Desk Tweaks.  They cover everything from Health to Work Sanity

Fast Company – The work you do and the office culture in which you do it are extremely important. But so too is the actual surface you work on. Here’s how thinking about your desk, its immediate environs, and your relationship to your workspace can help you become more creative.

Our focus at Best Standing Desks has typically been on the health benefits of standing, but this article makes a great point about becoming more creative and productive.   (deadly combo by the way)

Rae makes a lot of great points, but here is my favorite:

FOR BEST RESULTS, WALK AWAY FROM THE DESK – Solving really big problems sometimes require drastic measures. While hammering an idea out of your head can occasionally seem tempting, there’s consensus that stepping away from the desk is the way to break loose mental logjams.

Just walk away.  Get away from your desk and collect your thoughts.  How powerful is that?   You can find a ton of different things to take your mind off your current project.  My favorite to to grab a drink of water and take a walk.   Water is great for your health and the walk will ease your mind.  Even better…..  Grab a walk with a co-worker and talk through some of the issues that you’re facing.  Maybe you be able to glean a different approach to your problem, or at the very least, vent about your frustrations and get them off your chest.  (even if it is temporary)

Rae sums of the article with the best last resort:

Of course, if coffee, fresh air, and exercise fail to produce a genius solution to a creative conundrum, there’s always the bar.

Regardless of your standing desk situation, you need to check out this article. It’s phenomenal.  As always, get creative, check out the Diet Coke of Standing Desks…….  Awesome!

Standing Desk with Soda Cans

Why you should bring a Balance Ball to the office

I know you’re going to ask, Why you should bring a Balance Ball to the office?  Here’s why…… It provides a great seat while you are doing mundane tasks.  Sitting on a ball requires your to constantly balance yourself and work your core muscles with out much exertion or office embarrassment.  (such as push ups while you make cold calls)

Balance Ball for the officeWho it can help:

  • Yoga beginners. Moving in to poses with the ball’s support builds self-confidence and can aid your muscular tissues as you boost your yoga program.
  • Folks recovering from injuries. Some injuries produce muscle weaknesses that make it tough or uncomfortable to do yoga postures such as backbends or Warrior poses. A ball could ease you into a pose comfortably and with much less danger for re-injury.
  • Standing Desk Users.  You’ve already made the commitment to be healthy at the office, why not take the next step!

Best Balance Ball Exercise at Work — Hint:Work Those Abdomens!

You could be shocked to learn that even more essential to your core stability other than a collection of six-pack abs are small muscles that run along the spinal column and support the your body’s joints.  What really boosts overall physical body health and fitness is the toughness of these little muscles. They’re the ones that keep you from dropping, wrenching a disk in your back, or spraining your ankle when you slide on some ice.

Balance Ball – Tall Pushups for Pecs, shoulders, triceps muscles, and abs.

The best way to do it: Put your knees on the ball and your hands level on the floor (your whole physical body ought to be parallel to the floor). Look down at the flooring and lower your face to within a couple of inches of it, then push back around the beginning position.Balance Ball office push up

Core Training while working: The balance ball rolls around quickly, so core toughness and equilibrium are required to keep it still. The obstacle of keeping the ball still makes the ball a superb tool to teach stability and rehabilitation. The simplest movement can become a huge challenge when you do it on the ball. Making use of a ball can offer your day job a bit of additional variety, while keeping your fit and exercising.

Extra Balance Ball Tip, blowing up and starting to use a balance ball:.

  • Prior to inflating, use a yard stick or measuring tape to mark the size of your ball in centimeters (55, 65 or 75) on a wall or floor.
  • Blow up the ball as much as feasible, without over pumping up.
  • With usage, the ball will certainly stretch a bit and can be inflated again.
  • Add more air if necessary, balance balls tend to deflate over time.  Never pump up the ball larger than the centimeters in diameter suggested on the box.

TKO Anti Burst Fitness Stability Ball (65cm) (Sports)


List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Workplace desk exercises are necessary to reduce Repetitive Strain Injury

Can harmless computer mouse and keyboard movements cause distressing traumas?

Workplace desk exercises are necessary to reduce Repetitive Strain Injury— RSI. They are not crashes happening in split seconds, but a slow painful injury. RSI sneaks up on us and when we become aware of a problem it often takes a very long time to find out the reason. Like peccadillos, we tend to be ashamed of it: we feel it  ridiculous to have let such minor details like the range of the computer mouse or keyboard develop into such significant trauma. Not knowing how to safeguard ourselves against RSI, or how to alter an establishing problem is a huge issue. We hold off responding up until we have no other choice.

Sitting Desk InjuryComputers and various other devices are effective tools being operated for long hours by people who sit behind a desk and are directly exposed to Repetitive Pressure Injuries. Unlike medicines where symptoms show up fast  suggest the reason, the slow and subversive nature of the RSI is the trouble.

Companies often do not know of an issue and may not want to be bothered by such “minor” troubles like a proximity in between employees and their keyboards. External specialists are frequently asked not to publish their reports on matters that could sustain cost to the firm and the fitness center is hardly ever considered a remedy for this type of pain.  They can not be anticipated to inspect every client’s work-station, or map a shoulder problem completely back to using a particular gadget.

The nature of the RSI and the size of it suggest that the only viable method to resolve it is to provide individuals (and various other product customers) with a healthy work station that could include a standing desks t use while an individual operates a computer. Ergonomic instructions should be there for users to consult with and all companies should provide exercise and fitness options for all employees. This may have to include an anonymous nature to the program because of the shame that comes with the injury.  Exercise time ought to be offered and encouraged as training for protection against RSI.

If you workplace doesn’t have standing desks option or other means to protect you from the sitting disease, please ask them to consider the healthy option and the benefits that it can provide your company as a whole.

Any of you see these issue in your workplace?  Let us know in the comments below.

Ergonomics of a Standing Desk

As in previous posts we have discussed how a standing desk can lead to a healthier and more productive way to work.  We have also discussed the Optimal Standing Desk Height.

Good news is that if you’re reading this post about the ergonomics of a standing desk, you’ve already made the leap or are in the process of improving your overall fitness.  Good for you!

Imprint_Standing_Desk_Mat-341x256

Before we get to measurements, we need to discuss the primary complaint of new standing desk users.  Leg and back soreness.

While some soreness is normal while the body strengthens and adjusts to standing for extended periods of time, most of the initial soreness can be prevented by wearing comfortable shoes and using a standing desk anti-fatigue mat.   But not all anti-fatigue mats are designed for use at workstations, see here for our standing desk mat buyer’s guide which covers what features to look for, and our favorite pick.

 

Pictured below is a guideline to follow to make sure you are positioned correctly while you are standing or sitting at your ergonomic standing desk, whether it’s a adjustable height table or adjustable conversion desk.

Sit & Standing Desk ErgonomicsErgonomics for a Standing Desk (and Seated)

 The mayo clinic recommends the following ergonomics of a standing desk:

Posture: When using a ergonomic standing desk, keep your legs, torso, neck and head approximately in line and vertical.

Desk: Choose a desk that will allow you to keep your wrists straight and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Don’t use books or boards to change the height of your desk.

Monitor: Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. Position your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.

Keyboard and mouse: Place your mouse and keyboard within easy reach and on the same surface. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.

Key objects: Keep key objects — such as your telephone, stapler or printed materials — close to your body to prevent excessive stretching.

Headset: If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck. Experiment with various styles until you find the headset that works best for you.

Source: Mayo Clinic