Standing desk for classroom melbourne

Do Kids Need Standing Desks at School?

The school classroom environment often dictates that pupils sit for prolonged periods which may be detrimental for children's health. Replacing traditional school desks with standing desks may reduce sitting time and provide other benefits. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the impact of standing desks within the school classroom.

We all know that sitting all day is incredibly bad for our health and can cause heart disease, cancer, and obesity among other things.

Most studies conducted, and articles written on the benefits of standing are aimed at adults in the workplace. But children can also be affected by the health issues associated with excessive sitting.

We, as a society, are becoming more and more sedentary. Glued to phone screens, computer screens, and tv screens with most people neglecting the importance of health and exercise. The rise in computers means that most of the population sit behind a desk staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day, sit in a car on the commute home for 2 hours, then sit in front of a tv screen for 2 more hours.  That’s a lot of sitting.  But kids are the same.

The rise in technology has increased the amount of sitting time for kids. Children today are playing outside much less than they did 20 or 30 years ago and this is causing several problems to their long and short-term health. According to a recent 2016 study conducted on children aged 5-18 years, children sit for a staggering 70% of their day. 70%!!

Benefits of Standing Desk Melbourne

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years should engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for at least 60 min every day, but only one-fifth of German schoolchildren meet this recommendation. Regarding sedentary behaviour, the WHO recommends that children and adolescents should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary, in particular the amount of recreational screen time. However, associations between sedentary behaviour and child health are still discussed controversially, but there is evidence that sedentary behaviour tracks from childhood to adulthood underpinning the importance of health promotion activities targeting the reduction of sitting time already early in life. Possible health benefits resulting from the reduction of sedentary time in childhood may relate to healthier weight status, blood pressure, metabolism, fitness, self-esteem and social behaviour and may even improve academic performance. A large number of studies observed a gradient between time spent sedentary and worsening of health, but the evidence is inconclusive with regard to a clear dose-response relationship. For screen time, adverse health effects are observed from up to 2 h. This is alarming insofar as primary school children are sitting ~6.5 h at school, particularly German children and adolescents spent up to 9 h sedentary during a typical school day and sitting duration increases as children get older.

Are Standing Desks for Kids the Solution?

A systematic review of classroom standing desks and sedentary behaviour examined the impact of school-based standing desk interventions on sedentary behaviour and physical activity, health-related outcomes, and academic and behavioural outcomes in school-aged children and concluded that the evidence supports integrating standing desks into the classroom environment with the potential to reduce sitting time and increase standing time among elementary school children.  

Standing Desk In Schools: Why Are They Needed?

Standing desks in primary school 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 highlight how useful standing desks in school may in fact be.

Standing for Health

The standing trend isn’t just another fad. Too much sitting has been shown to have serious implications for our health. Experts have even gone as far as calling sitting the new smoking.

Some of the health risks associated with prolonged sedentary behaviour in children are obesity, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and reduced cardiorespiratory fitness. But prolonged sitting has a negative impact on not only the physical well-being of children but on their self-esteem and academic performance as well. Unfortunately, it is not enough to go to for a walk or hit the gym after school, as short amounts of strenuous exercise can’t counteract the negative effects of too much sitting.

Both adults and children spend increasing amounts of time every day sitting down. According to studies, school-aged children spend as much as 60-70% of their waking hours sedentary. In the US, students spend an average 4.5 hours sitting at school and an additional 7 hours sitting in front of a screen. It’s been shown that children who spend long amounts of time sitting also carry this behaviour into their teens and adult life, increasing their risk of obesity and other health problems.

Swartz and graduate student Nathan Tokarek explored whether the benefits of standing desks extended to elementary school kids. They found positive effects on two fronts: an increase in physical activity during waking hours and better concentration in the classroom for younger students. Review here

The yearlong pilot study followed 100 students at Shorewood’s Atwater Elementary School who agreed to use a standing desk in the classroom for one semester. Students also wore an accelerometer – similar to a Fitbit – to measure their activity throughout the day, both in school and at home. Finally, they took tests to measure their cognitive focus.

Frequently Asked Questions About Standing Desk

A study conducted by Texas A&M University gave elementary school students stand up desks, and found that standing “improved attention, on-task behaviour, alertness, and classroom engagement.” Teachers who worried that standing desks would disrupt learning actually saw a reduction in behaviour problems.

Research, however, suggests that warnings about sitting at work are overblown and that standing desks are overrated as a way to improve health. A number of studies have found a significant association between prolonged sitting time over a 24-hour period and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Being able to stand while studying in a classroom setting can make students more alert and focused in class. The increased blood flow allows them to think more clearly which can in turn improve cognitive skills if done for a prolonged duration.

A standing desk is ergonomic because it gives you the option of standing, reducing the risks that come with long periods of inactivity. Monitor arms can also make a desk more ergonomic.

Ultimately, yes, standing at work is better than sitting. It can also promote healthy habits like taking breaks for movement when you've been sitting too long. Standing doesn't do much to lower your risk of heart disease, and standing for too long can actually harm your health.

Benefits of Standing Desks in Classrooms

Children are the future. If we can’t teach them to look after their bodies, then we are going to be a generation with back problems, poor posture, obesity, and heart disease.

If you’re still not convinced that standing desks are the future of classroom ergonomics here are just some of the benefits!

  1. Increases concentration
    Early studies have shown that when children are standing they are more engaged and it can even help children with attention difficulties focus – but this also depends on their age and maturity.
  2. Improves classroom behaviour
    Children have a lot of energy. A LOT. Why force them to sit down and be still when they can stand and reap the benefits? Standing burns energy and by being allowed to move and not being tied to a chair they are more likely to be able to focus better and move around a little – improving classroom behaviour.
  3. Improves musculoskeletal health and posture
    Sitting for long periods has been proven to cause neck pain, back pain, poor posture, among other things.  A pilot study conducted in Australia and New Zealand in 2012 concluded that musculoskeletal discomfort was not evident in children using standing-workstations.  Another study  published in August 2018, concluded that “Students were less likely to report musculoskeletal discomfort in the neck, shoulder, elbows and lower back when using standing desks.”
  4. Increases caloric consumption
    Childhood obesity is now an epidemic.  Children that are overweight or obese has tripled between 1980 and 2002. Standing desks can help kids burn 15-25% more calories when standing and obese kids burn 25-35% more calories.
  5. Improves breathing
    Standing opens the airways and allows for better breathing and blood flow. This in-turn allows more blood and oxygen to flow around the body.

Sitting and ADHD

In addition to helping combat obesity, standing at school may also help students struggling with ADHD. Recent research suggests that ADHD is linked to physical inactivity and that a sedentary lifestyle can aggravate ADHD symptoms. For children suffering from ADHD, moving and fidgeting is an important and natural way to relieve symptoms.

However, when seated there is no non-disruptive way for them to fidget. Standing desks allow children to move more, and many are even equipped with moving foot rests that allow them to fidget while standing.

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. Get redirected here. 

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.  

Advantages of Standing Desk Melbourne

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.

As good for you as standing is, standing on hard floors or for too long without breaks isn’t good for your body either. Adding a mat is the best way to ensure a comfortable standing experience.  An anti-fatigue mat provides an ergonomic benefit for your feet as they provide cushioning, reduce pressure points on your feet, and they can mould to your feet to provide maximum comfort. Further, an anti-fatigue mat stimulates very subtle micro-movements in your muscles to keep you balanced.  This muscle engagement keeps the blood flowing through your lower limbs increasing circulation which reduces fatigue.

It is also recommended to vary between sitting, standing, and moving as much as possible and that you never stand uninterrupted for more than 1 hour at a time.  A very recent study published on 8th August 2018 on the effects of standing desks in schools, concluded that, “Standing desks significantly increased classroom standing time and decreased musculoskeletal discomfort reports but had no overall effect on daily physical activity levels. Schools should consider moving towards classrooms enabling a variety of postures to potentially improve the long-term health of children.” Check this useful reference.

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.

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