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Manufacturing Innovative Matting Products
Manufacturing Innovative Matting Products

Standing Desks for Kids – The Future of Classroom Ergonomics?

Are standing desks in classrooms the solution for sedentary lifestyles and childhood obesity?

As schools are reopening for the first term after summer vacation, parents everywhere are cheering and waving their white flag while teachers are preparing and applying their metaphorical war paint.
Yes, soon children will be entering their classrooms ready to learn and ready to… sit for 5 hours.

“Sit still!”

This is s something we have all heard our teachers say at one point. But is that really the best advice?

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 work place. But children can also be affected by the health issues associated with excessive sitting.StandUpKids.org Sitting vs. Standing

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 starting 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. #remeberwhenyourmumwouldtellyoutocomehomewhenthestreetlightscameon #backinmydayweplayedoutside

According to a recent 2016 study conducted on children aged 5-18 years, children sit for a staggering 70% of their day. 70%!!

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.  

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[2]. Standing desks can help kids burn 15-25% more calories when standing and obese kids burn 25-35% more calories[3].
  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.

Standing Up For Kids at School

Several organisations are already fighting to get standing desks in schools with Stand-Up Kids aiming to have standing desks in all schools in 10 years.  Children’s bodies are still growing, and their musculoskeletal health, heart health, and overall wellbeing is of paramount importance.

 Photo credits Stand-Up Kids

Standing Smart

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.”

So this fall, let kids stand, bounce and wobble themselves to a brighter and healthier future.

Want to know even more about the benefits of standing? Check out more of our article as part of our Stand Up for Health series.
•    Sitting vs Standing
•    So, you think you can stand?
•    How to Stand


Would you like to read more on this topic?  See below a list of articles and information that were used as references in this article:
https://www.upstandingkids.org/why-is-this-so-important
http://standupkids.org/
http://standupkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Letter-Size-Sitting.pdf <- printable infographic
http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/8/1668  <- Does a Classroom Standing Desk Intervention Modify Standing and Sitting Behaviour and Musculoskeletal Symptoms during School Time and Physical Activity during Waking Time?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21936895  <- Review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youths
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335516300183 <- The effects of standing desks within the school classroom: A systematic review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134494/ <- The Impact of Stand-Biased Desks in Classrooms on Calorie Expenditure in Children
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/2/e20153087 <- Standing desks sedentary behaviour study
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738399103002155 <- Sitting habits in elementary schoolchildren: a traditional versus a moving school
http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/9/9361/htm <- The Evaluation of the Impact of a Stand-Biased Desk on Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity for Elementary School Students
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134494/ <- The Impact of Stand-Biased Desks in Classrooms on Calorie Expenditure in Children
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743512005397 <- Acceptability of standing workstations in elementary schools: A pilot study
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140130701587236  <- Sitting and standing postures are corrected by adjustable furniture with lowered muscle tension in high-school students
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4929187/ <- The effects of standing desks within the school classroom: A systematic review
https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/standing-desks-every-classroom/ - Article on Why Standing Desks Should Be In Every Classroom
https://www.goldtouch.com/ergonomics-classroom-student-edition/ <- practicing good ergonomics in the classroom
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21936895 <- Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children youth
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306432 <- Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children youth: an update
https://www.moving-minds.com/classroom/desks <- Sells standing desks for kids
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4732360/ <- Classroom standing desks and sedentary behaviour: a system review
http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/8/1668 < - Does a Classroom Standing Desk Intervention Modify Standing and Sitting Behaviour and Musculoskeletal Symptoms during School Time and Physical Activity during Waking Time?
http://standupkids.org/ <- campaign to make standing at school a standard thing
https://www.upstandingkids.org/why-is-this-so-important <- campaigning to make standing up at school a standard thing
https://www.juststand.org/stand-up/stand-up-school/ >- Campaigning to make standing desks mandatory
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/adi-gaskell/should-schools-be-using-s_b_12280762.html <- Article on HuffPost from 2017 – Should Schools Be Using Standing Desks?