For many of us, September is a time of renewed energy and new beginnings. This is true especially for teachers and students who are about to start another new school year. Teachers now have new reason to feel encouraged about the year ahead thanks to new research and new equipment. The recent introduction of stand-biased desks, designed for the classroom, allows educators to incorporate movement into the school day in their classrooms as never before. This is exciting news for teachers and students alike because movement, or increased physical activity throughout the school day, can increase the likelihood of a successful school year for all involved.
Physical activity during recess and regularly scheduled Phys Ed classes are critical to both the health and education of children. And educators are now able to introduce movement into the classroom in a way that does not take away from valuable instruction time. Stand-biased desks allow students to move easily between sitting and standing while they are actively engaged in the classroom without disrupting their studies.
According to Dr. Mark Benden, Director of the Ergonomics Center at Texas A&M University, and designer of the original Stand2Learn desk, this phenomenon is referred to as “postural variety.” That is, students have the maximum flexibility to choose between sitting and standing while in class, allowing optimum movement when participating in a learning environment.
Stand-biased desks in the classroom have proven to offer many benefits for students, including an increase in student engagement and improved cognition, among others. Just this week, Dr. Benden and his team published a study that indicates that standing desks in classrooms have also shown to slow the increase in elementary school children’s body mass index (BMI)—a key indicator of obesity—by an average of 5.24 percentile points. The research was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
In addition to the benefits for students, the many benefits for teachers are also compelling. Having more engaged, more alert students in the classroom is certainly positive, but the perks can extend even further, including:
The research creates a compelling story to support movement in the classroom as stand-biased desks can improve the classroom experience for teachers and students alike. A fresh start to another academic year is full of anticipation and promise. In addition to the traditional supplies required at the beginning of the school year, stand-biased desks should be considered for the best outcome possible.
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Spring if finally upon us! With the opening of the windows and doors, along with sunshine and fresh air, we are greeted with so many new opportunities to get active that don’t seem so apparent during the winter months. Getting outdoors takes much less preparation and effort. Being outdoors is pleasant and easy (at least for those of us who prefer warmer weather). The benefits of being active in spring go beyond just feeling good and being healthy, and might not be what you expect. Let’s take a look.
I had the honour of speaking with Olive Myhre the day after her 105th birthday. Olive has lived through events that most of us only read about in history books, including two World Wars, the introduction of the automobile, the invention of the computer, and man’s first steps on the moon. I was able to learn about her life and her perspective on health and happiness. Here is our interview.