With students sitting 50-70% of their day, parents and teachers see students struggling with health and academic problems. Moving more and sitting less in the classroom has been linked to improved physical and mental health, has been shown to improve engagement, and even increase test scores.
Quality standing desks for students, like those from Vari®, are designed based on exhaustive ergonomic research, providing students with a way to be more comfortable, more productive, and even healthier. A small change, like the opportunity to stand during class, has been shown to have big benefits, from long-term advantages to an improved classroom culture. Here’s how standing desks can impact any classroom – including yours.
The Long-Term Benefits of Standing Classroom Desks
From more time spent in front of screens to more time seated during class, many students have developed increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Because this is how students can go through every school day for years, this kind of inactivity becomes more normalized and makes it harder for them to change their habits later in life. Our bodies are made to move, yet students are confined to desks to sit for the majority of a day.
Encouraging kids to stand up in class while they are young helps break sedentary habits that could stay with them the rest of their lives. Many teachers who use height-adjustable standing desks in their class report a more productive and enjoyable day simply because their students are less fidgety and disruptive, as movement has been built into their day naturally. Establishing the importance of movement early on means you can build long-lasting healthy habits in students that support an active lifestyle.
Standing has proven to be an effective way to improve memory and focus, and research shows that classroom standing desks can also enhance cognitive skills and improve test scores. Students feel more alert when they’re able to stand when they need to and this translates to improved focus in class. Ultimately, standing desks can create an environment where all students can think more clearly and focus on the task at hand.
In the last few decades, more schools have reduced gym and recess times. One way to fill this void is by introducing standing desks for students that allow for movement throughout the day. While it can’t fully replace traditional exercise, active environments created by standing desks have a cumulative effect – research shows that standing periodically throughout the day can be the equivalent of walking 5 miles per week.
Reduced BMI and Obesity Rates
Obesity is a growing problem in our country, but minor changes in the classroom can help. By prioritizing movement with standing desks, educators can help combat this unhealthy trend. Research shows a 15% increase in calorie expenditure when using a standing desk, which can add up to burning 17-35% more calories when standing versus sitting. Standing is also associated with a lower BMI, the tool used by health professionals to determine a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Better Mental Health
It’s estimated that 5-10% of the population suffers from depression, and many students suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. Researchers are noticing a strong link between elevated depression and the amount of time spent participating in sedentary activities.
Exercise has long been tied to better mental health. Moving increases blood flow and releases certain chemicals in the brain that can improve moods and boost self-esteem, plus moving is often helpful in reducing stress and lowering anxiety. Using a standing desk as part of a healthy lifestyle can be one of the tools to help improve the overall mental health of students.
Reduced Back Pain
Sitting stationary for hours can encourage the bad habit of slumping and the weight of carrying a backpack around all day can put a significant strain on the bones and joints of students. Standing helps to reduce back pain and strain.
Increased Test Scores
Research conducted by Dr. Mark Benden has shown a link between improved grades and the use of standing desks. Sit-stand desks in the classroom can help reduce disruptions. Students are more likely to focus on the lesson, retain the curriculum, and see improved test results.
Better Collaboration and Classroom Culture
Adjustable-height standing desks can directly benefit schools and learning institutions by increasing engagement and collaboration in their educational environment. Most schools still use traditional desks, which forces children to sit for long hours and be confined to a limited amount of space, leading to sedentary and unmotivated work. However, research increasingly validates the concept of active and collaborative learning.
Better Overall Classroom Engagement
If you compare current classroom furniture to the kind that filled classrooms for the last several decades, there’s not that much difference. Considering how much technology and society has evolved since then, why haven’t our classrooms evolved too?
Improved Collaboration and Creativity
When students are confined to one space, at their desk, it creates a mindset that they need to do their work by themselves. Vari Education standing desks, for example, can easily be moved together to create standing tables that encourage collaboration between students. Encouraging collaboration stations within the classroom is a proven method to help students get work done, develop teamwork, and improve social skills, as well as make room for creativity and offer students the freedom to learn in new ways. A simple change in student desk configuration can improve the classroom environment and impact the learning behaviors and lifestyle students take with them as they grow.
Standing desks can provide a sense of community and flexibility in classrooms. In the 21st century, classrooms, schools, students, and teachers come in all different shapes, sizes, and mindsets. The “one size fits all” desk model has been shown to be less effective for student success as schools around the country are realizing the advantages of active furniture and standing desks in the classroom.
<p>If you want to create a better classroom experience with an active, engaged, and healthy learning environment, get in touch today to discuss how Vari Education solutions can work for your classroom. </p>
*All sources cited at Vari.com/resources.