It’s widely known that sitting is bad for your health, but a new study of elementary school students reveals that standing desks can actually reduce obesity in children while improving their attention spans. Texas A&M associate professor Mark Benden tested out the theory by introducing “stand-biased” desks into the classrooms of 480 elementary school students in the College Station Independent School District. Each student donned a sensor on their arm to record their “step count” and “calorie expenditure” over a period of five school days. The results? Giving kids more standing time during class time helped them burn more calories – up to 15 percent more than traditional desks – and also seemed to improve their attentiveness.
“When children are given environments that encourage and promote movement during instructional time, they will move more and consequently increase their energy expenditure,” states the paper reporting the results. “Similarly, traditional seated environments may actually constrain children’s natural physicality and restrict their movements to a minimal level.”
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According to CoExist, the research is still in early stages and Benden has to test the locally-made desks with greater numbers of students to study what effects certain instructions from teachers might have on the results. But they do show promising signs that standing in class is good for kids’ health and learning. “If this environmental change improves both health and academic outcomes, this should serve as an incentive for schools to invest in altering their standard for classroom furniture to stand-biased modifications.
Images via Stand2Learn