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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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.