There's a reason why we look to professionals when searching for tips and tricks in the kitchen: They know what's up. If you work in a professional kitchen, you spend 10 to 12 hour days on your feet, which can put a strain on your joints — and eventually, your back.
And sure, you — a home cook — aren't spending 10 hours prepping for even your most ambitious dinner party, but add up prep time, cook time, and dish-washing time, and you're standing in your kitchen a lot, every day.
Take a tip from the pros and invest in an anti-fatigue gel mat, on sale right now on Amazon.
What's more, there are plenty of studies that find that workers who are on their feet for long shifts report less discomfort if they're standing on a mat versus a hard flooring surface.
These mats aren't the most stylish things in the world (we've grappled with this fact extensively), but they'll make you want to spend more time in the kitchen, and that's a win for everyone. This one is available in black, tan, and cream and comes in a variety of sizes to fit every space (we suggest putting a larger one near your prep area and a smaller one in front of your sink). And as one of our readers pointed out, you could always put a more stylish rug on top of it.
Speaking of our readers, many of you swear by these things. Here are some real comments that might convince the rest of you holdouts.
@doityerself: I spend more time in kitchens than most since I test recipes for a living, and I bought two of these for in front of my sink and stove. They make a HUGE difference. They're not terribly ugly either, since they're plain.
@Waeschli: As someone who cooks all the time, I view the gel mats as essential to keeping the stress on my body to a minimum. I purchased mine in a color to closely match my dark brown floors so they don't really stand out. As for cleaning them, I mop them when the floor is mopped — so I feel like the cleanup is easy, especially when something liquid or greasy drips on them. I grab a damp cloth and wipe it off (versus a nice rug that would probably be ruined). Go for gel mats!
@Zojarie: I love my mat! Get one. Makes a huge difference for my back and feet while chopping or doing dishes. So worth it!
Do you have one? If not, will you get one?