There are a lot of misconceptions around anti-fatigue mats. I see anti-fatigue mats everywhere; soft, squishy, torn, taped down, piled together. And when people first step on our mats they are astonished and maybe even a little skeptical because the misconception is that softness equals comfort…WRONG. I have to admit when I first stood on a Safe-Flex mat, I thought hmmm how will this be when I stand on this all day?
Everyone at Ergo Advantage was so excited about their tiles I was prepared to listen to what they had to say. They brought me studies and test results and testimonials. They taught me about how blood flowed around the body, how the calf muscle was an integral part of pumping blood, and how the specially molded domes on the mat initiated the calf muscle to contract on a regular basis which meant that blood didn’t pool in a person’s legs. They showed me studies that showed that joint pain was significantly reduced when people stood on a surface that had enough strength to support a person's weight as long as it had just enough flex to return the energy to the joint. That when a squishy surface sagged you ended up standing basically on concrete. There was study after study that showed that Ergo Advantage had come up with the perfect solution for people who stand all day at their job. But I don’t stand all day and when I stood on a mat for a couple of minutes, I was still dubious…then they offered me a job as the new head of marketing. I took it because I believed in the scientific evidence and the amazing benefits these products brought to the marketplace. But there was still a little voice inside that said but maybe those effects are for other people?
"Then I was sent to a trade show. I have attended, oh I don’t know, maybe 100 trade shows over my 18 years as a marketer? I know the drill, fly for hours, check into the hotel, race to the convention centre, set up the booth, catch a few hours sleep them race back and stand there on concrete for 8 to 10 hours, go back to the hotel soak your feet, rub your swollen knees and get ready to do it all again the next day. Then break down the booth, fly home, grab my knee brace, and basically be hobbling around for several days until my body heals. Fine, it's the price we pay."
So, I go to the trade show, stand all day and head back to the hotel and as I am walking back, it hits me--I feel good. My knees are not swollen, my feet don’t feel like hamburger. WTH? Holy crap, the domes and legs really work! The science proves itself out against what your initial instincts tell you. Maybe our next innovation will be progressive mats. They start out soft and gradually harden to the right resistance to disperse your weight and support your joints without you even being aware of it. By the time you realize they aren’t soft anymore, you are just glad that you are not in pain and allow your own body to convince you in a way that mere scientific evidence could not…
I’ll just pitch that to our engineering team and see what they say. I am not holding my breath, they have so many great ideas they are working on right now I doubt they can find the time for this but hey, worth a try!?