Is standing up the new sitting down?
It’s a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ this one.
We need to go nontraditional because schools are tragically sedentary.
With mounting evidence in support of stand-up desks, schools need to do more than sit up and notice. They need to stand up for learning and make sure children get moving.
In their systematic review of 11 studies, Sherry et al (2016) found that overall standing desks within the classroom are practical, they have particularly positive effects on energy expenditure (EE) and do not demonstrate a detrimental effect on classroom behaviour or learning.
Although more evidence is needed on standing desk interventions, numerous studies have documented health problems related to sitting too much. A sedentary lifestyle is definitely bad for our health including the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Schools are contributing to the ‘sitting disease’.
A damning international study found British children are among the least active in the world, and fitness levels are plummeting. The rankings, produced by a global alliance of health experts, show the UK lagging far behind a host of countries. Can standing up in class help?
It’s certainly better than sitting all day and researchers at the University of Minnesota found that pupils using a standing desk burn 350 calories more than sitting through the day.
In their study, Reiff et al (2012) found “a significant increase in caloric expenditure in subjects that were standing at a standing classroom desk compared with sitting at a standard classroom desk.”
In an article for the BBC News Magazine, Dr Michael Mosley reminds us that the evidence that standing up is good for us goes back to at the 1950s. A study published in the Lancet comparing standing bus conductors and sitting bus drivers found that the bus conductors had around half the risk of developing heart disease of the bus drivers.
Although standing is preferable to sitting in term of EE, standing all day is going to be tiring so sit-stand desks are the ideal option as we can alternate positions and reduce strain but still ‘burn calories’.
One organisation I have been impressed by is www.juststand.org who promote this sit-stand-switch philosophy: their message is to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes for optimum health.
The human body is designed to move and not sit all day.
A whole lesson sat down is not the way to do it. A sit-stand way of being is far more intelligent and empowers children to live healthier and more productive lives.
If you don’t have the luxury of sit-stand desks that have children stand up in lessons to increase their alertness, blood flow, oxygen flow and energy.