I’m certain you are aware of the rising rate of childhood obesity in our country. Sitting for hours on end in a classroom no doubt contributes to these rising numbers. Students are expected to sit for hours while focusing on their teacher and lessons, but children need physical engagement just like adults, maybe even more so.
The research shows how a standing desk can increase focus and creativity in adults, so some schools and researchers have started to look for the same results in schools. They have found that an adjustable height desk improves learning and behavior among many different school age groups.
School children can spend up to 65-70% of their awake time sitting. For generations, we have been telling children to sit still and pay attention. But where has it gotten us? Children are heavier, sicker, and less motivated in school.
Mark Benden, a professor at Texas A&M University and the lead author of two studies on standing desks in Texas, said, “Children become more restless and distracted with prolonged sitting. Active workstations reduce disruptive behavior problems and increase students’ attention by providing them with a different method for completing academic tasks and breaking up the monotony of seated work.”
When children are given the option to stand and move their legs around, they are less likely to be disruptive in class. Rather than sitting and thinking about how uncomfortable they are or needing to move because they feel so restless, their bodies are physically engaged while standing. Behavior problems in class have been significantly reduced due to the standing option in schools. Benden has been told by many principals that children who had a history of being sent to their offices were now more engaged in class and therefore were not getting in trouble with their teacher.
Of course beyond just behavior is the issue of obesity. A study conducted in the UK found that students who worked at a standing workstation lowered their sitting time by 52 minutes a day. In the Texas studies conducted by Mark Benden, student who worked at a stand up desk burned 17% more calories than students who sat during the day.
As you can see, research shows how standing is not only good for the health of adults, but also for the physical and mental health of children. Not to mention the stress it alleviates from teachers who are trying to get their students to focus. Standing desks are no longer the wave of the future, they are a necessary tool for the present.