After a summer of swimming, traveling, and other fun-filled activities, sitting quietly at their desks for a long school day is a challenge for our daughters. Even when they actually sat, they rarely sat “normally”. We often found them moving around, curling their legs up underneath them, and even “sitting” upside down on the sofa.
Sadly, children generally spend 85% of their waking hours sitting. Children sit at school, in front of a screen, in a car or bus, to do homework, and to eat meals. Medical experts believe that prolonged sitting can be as bad as smoking – even 2 hours of continuous sitting increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, back and neck pain, and other orthopedic problems.
In addition to the obvious solution of more physical activity, we can increase everyone’s overall health by simply standing more. This includes using a standing desk. It’s a great solution for everyone, not just “fidgety” kids who can’t sit still.
Think about it. Are your children happier when they are free to move or restricted to a chair? Not only are children happier when they aren’t stuck in a chair, they’re actually more engaged and more creative. Standing desks in classrooms enable more active learning and easier classroom management for teachers.
Plus, children at standing desks burn 15% to 25% more calories during the school day than those who sit. Standing also maintains physiology and motor skill functionality while reducing cell aging.
All of theses benefits come from students’ ability to shift and move their bodies and refocus while standing versus the distraction of having to stay still while sitting. Although this might be a pipe dream in many school districts, there are an increasing number of organizations, such as standupkids.org, whose mission is to get standing desks in schools.
We’ve seen positive results – better posture, more focus, and more excitement about learning – since we added standing desks at home and let our daughters sit and lay down on the floor. You can test this standing concept at home without investing in furniture. Many tables and counters are already at standing height for children, just take a look around your house. Then get to work!