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Being the over-achiever that I am, not only do I run a couple of businesses, instruct Pilates several times a week, I also do glass lampworking, a hobby of mine which I love, but which isn’t particularly movement friendly.  One would find it quite tricky to create a molten glass bead with a huge flamethrower whilst moving around the garage.

Standing still for long periods of time is just as bad as sitting still for long periods of time, perhaps even more so when standing on a cold, hard garage floor.  I needed a solution and heard about the Topo anti-fatigue mat by Ergodriven, but they’re bloody expensive and I couldn’t find one in this country anyway.  Solution, DIY!

Given that I own a Pilates studio, it wasn’t difficult to run off with a few old mats.  I then probably broke the law by pinching some stones from the nearby beach (guilty).  BBE provided the wood – he’s a man, I’m constantly amazed and often scornful at the crap he saves, but always highly impressed when I request something and he immediately pipes up, “I have one of those.”  This has included among other things, a massage table, a small van, a big van and a trailer, scaffold planks for making a low table (next project), various weird tools and apparatus to make or do just about anything, a boat – the list goes on and on.

Step 1 – pile up the mats in the area I intend to work. Check.

Step 2 – put different size and shape stones under different layers of matting to provide texture and variation for tootsies.

Step 3 – make rolled up thingies for stretching calves etc.  I used wood in the centre of mine as I thought the mats would flatten a bit over time, so this just gives them a bit of structure.

The finished article.

I did consider gluing it all together and making it look pretty, but this way, with everything loose, I can kick it about and move it as I see fit, which changes the feel of it under my feet.

CFPete, if you’re reading this, just ignore the fact that I’m stood on a non-flat surface in bare feet with glass and stuff 🙂  I wouldn’t advise anyone else taking this short-cut to healthy and safety hell, I make my own decisions about what I consider appropriate for me and my body.  However, the DIY anti-fatigue mat would work for anyone with a standing work station or who wants to create one, is REALLY cheap (always a bonus), and keeps your feet, ankles and legs happy while you’re standing and can be moved out of the way if you need to sit.

If you can afford one here’s a link to the Ergodrive site for the actual Topo mat. From their website:


The patent-pending calculated terrain features encourage frequent movement, and are specially designed to engage the blood pumping mechanism of your calves. Add in the cushioning but supportive material, and that means more movement, more blood flow, and a healthier you.