Are you standing while reading this? If you’re like millions of computer users across the world, chances are that you are not standing.
Several studies have verified the hazards of sitting for long periods of time at workplace. Recently the same concerns have been raised about students sitting for long time in the classrooms.
Various plans are being implemented nationwide to reduce obesity and promote health. The latest solution is to provide “sit-stand desks” for students, which encourage healthy behavior.
Unlike traditional desks that are one-height-fits-all, standing desks can be adjusted to fit the students for different heights. The standing desk could be raised or lowered easily by pressing on a hand lever (requires very little force) attached to the desk. There are two main types of standing desks available for students. The fixed height standing desks are not adjustable. Using these desks requires students to stand up all the time. The other type is height adjustable desks which allow students to change their position from sitting to standing at any time.
Has any school tried standing desks?
Alexandria Day School in Alexandria, Virginia offers standing desks in their middle school classrooms. In California, Vallecito Elementary School in San Rafael has been outfitted with standing desks in a first grade classroom, and in three fourth grade classrooms for the 2015/2016 school year. (Allison DeNisco- District Administration, July 2015.)
Why Standing promotes health/focus?
Standing while working has many health benefits. In 2010, a study published by Mark Benden, an associate professor at Texas A&M, and his colleagues looked at possible health benefits for standing desks. Results show that students who were standing burned 11 more calories per hour, adding up to 300 calories more per week, compared to students that were using traditional style sitting desks. Overweight students using a standing desk burned about 23 more calories per hour, cumulating to about 575 more calories per week.
Benden’s article concludes that “the increase of physical activity in the school day has been related to the reduction of childhood obesity, increased caloric expenditure, and heightened academic success in children of all weight groups. Examination of cost-effective interventions, such as stand-biased desks, is crucial in the war against childhood obesity.” Benden further adds that he expects to see standing desks to become more common as the benefits catch on and more companies enter the market. This study was funded by the CDC, and was published in the American Journal of Public Health. (Benden, Impact of stand-biased desks).
What teachers see
Teachers that have standing desks in their classrooms have reported increased participation from students, as well as students being more focused. Another study by Mark Benden and his collegues states that “The desks are creating an environment where teachers feel they have better classroom management, which means the whole class is learning and staying on task longer” (Benden, Using Stand/Sit Workstations in Classrooms).
This study points to the fact that students who are standing are performing better in the classroom. When students are more focused and pay attention for longer periods, teachers are able to get through more material per day. That extra time teachers gain from increased student focus adds up to a significant amount over the course of school year. The study also found that “In general, continued utilization of the stand-biased desks was largely associated with improved executive function and working memory capabilities” (Benden, Using Stand/Sit Workstations in Classrooms).
The LearnFit 24-2481-003 comes in shiny silver color and has a vertical lift of 15″. It comes with a hook to hang the backpack, cupholder, tablet slot and a pencil tray. This desk has a small footprint which allows students to quickly organize into groups for activities or roll the desk against the wall to create open floor space.
The LearnFit 24-458-200 comes in black color and has a higher vertical adjustability of 19.6″. A simple hand lever allows the student to adjust the height of the desk. The casters on both the desks allow quick movement around the room creating a dynamic classroom environment.
Benden, M., Blake, J., ” Wendel, M, Huber C., “The impact of stand-biased desks in classrooms on calorie expenditure in children” accepted for publication Nov 2010 AJPH.
Blake, J., Benden, M., Wendel, M., “Using Stand/Sit Workstations in Classrooms: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in Texas” accepted for publication Dec 2010 in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.