We have all come a long way to automate our environment as much as possible. Mechanization has been ushered into kitchens and dens, premises have been filled with flip-down TVs and various home robots, with many of these devices functioning without human interference. Instead, they are connected by the Internet of Things. With so many previously tedious, manual acts now automated and made simple, we sat back and relaxed, letting machines do all drudgeries instead of us. The more they toil, the longer we keep sitting.
Yet prolonged sitting is never healthy. People who spend prolonged periods sitting have a greater chance of developing a whole range of diseases – from diabetes and deep vein thrombosis to different kinds of muscle pains and even cancer. To combat the negative effects of a sedentary way of life, engineers and scientists have offered various solutions. One such solution is to replace a regular table with a standing desk.
How Do Standing Desks Help to Stay Healthy?
Changing your habitual demeanor at a table is likely to mitigate the detrimental influence of protracted sitting. There are various health benefits associated with reduced sitting, including the following key advantages:
- Firstly, the risk of contracting the aforementioned diseases reduces drastically.
- Secondly, a standing posture facilitates a more intense burning of calories, thus lessening obesity prospects.
- Thirdly, standing is also better for our eyesight and muscular system.
- Finally, the surges of energy resulting from moving around if you stay on your feet at the desk invigorate your body as a whole.
Given their numerous benefits, standing desks are increasingly used as office workstations, home furniture fixtures, gaming tables, and so on. While these benefits are clear for adults, standing desks for children is still up for debate, and whether standing desks in schools are really a necessity. Do our kids really need to stand up school desks?
Standing Desk in Schools: Why Are They Needed?
A standing desk for children can be perceived as pointless. It can be argued that kids never stay still so the need for this ‘standing promoter’ is futile. However, while that image might have been true a couple of decades ago, modern children do not live up to this.
In the morning they sit at breakfast and then on the journey to school. They sit all day in their classes and after school, they sit again while doing homework. They sit at dinner and then on the couch watching TV in the evening. Outside of a regular day’s ‘staples’, due to this modern, technological age, kids spending time outside in the evenings and weekends is becoming rare. Smartphones, gaming consoles, computers; all of this technology encourages a slouched, seated position with an eye glued to screens.
A 2016 study found that from this combination, the total time each day kids spent sitting was upwards of 60%. Figures like this demonstrate how prevalent this issue is with modern-day children and highlights how useful standing desks in school may in fact be.
Standing Desks for Students: What Are the Benefits?
According to the experience of schools that have implemented standing desks for classroom activities, they have attributed this decision with the following benefits:
1. Physical Health Benefits
These are essentially the same benefits enjoyed by adult standing desk users. However, there is a significant health benefit for which standing desks for middle schoolers would help – obesity. Obesity in children is a crisis faced by most developed countries and standing desks for schools are a viable solution. On average, a standing desk user burns about 15% more calories than their sitting counterparts. For children who are overweight, this figure is even greater and reaches 30%. Add to it the absence of musculoskeletal discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and lower back, you will see that standing desks for schools are literally what the doctor ordered.
2. Mental Health Benefits
Feeling better physically adds a positive reinforcement to your mental health. Reduced stress and anxiety alongside increased concentration have shown to go hand-in-hand with the small change of implementing standing desks. Further to this, increased blood flow caused by standing releases mood-altering chemicals to the brain. Consequently, students can feel more cheerful with heightened self-esteem.
3. Educational Benefits
Teachers are often subjected to the hardship of keeping children sitting still and concentrated on their seats for long spans, especially younger kids. However, if they had a standing toddler school desk, that eliminates and greatly helps with these issues. Encouraging kids to move around within the boundaries of their standing desk (which is easy with school desks for toddlers) allows them to burn energy and generally improves classroom behavior. It also maintains the concentration that would be lost from drooping in their chairs throughout the day.
This benefit seen in young children is also applicable to the older kids too. Standing school desks will enhance the educational process for middle school, high school, and university students by making their workspace more flexible and facilitating their engagement and collaboration in class. Due to this, scientists have also found a link between grade improvement and standing desk usage. Finally, standing school desk settings develop children’s teamwork skills and improve their social behavior in general, fostering a sense of community.
Conclusion: Are Standing Desks Needed in Schools?
From existing research and experience, it is clear there are significant advantages to implementing standing desks in schools. Technological advancements and changing social norms of the 21st century have streamlined our activities and from this, introduced significant health risks both. While applicable to all age groups, underage children are subjected to it most. Introducing standing desks early on can stall and minimize the associated health risks discussed in this article. Furnishing classrooms with school standing desks will not only help with the consequences of prolonged sitting upon children’s health, it will also facilitate their academic progress and encourage their collaborative skills.