You’ve heard that sitting on one’s bum for long periods of time – hours upon hours in school or at the office – isn’t doing your health any favors. This has left you to ponder on standing desks and wonder if that’s any better.
To help you decide if you want to replace your child’s study table at home for a standing one is a recent study by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. They found out that students using standing desks inside classrooms perform and think better in school compared to their sitting classmates.
For the study, freshman students in the U.S. were given the option to switch their sitting desks for standing ones. The desks were to be used for the whole school year and the students’ cognitive functions were tested at the start and at the end of the year.
Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., co-author of the study and assistant professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, explored the neurocognitive benefits of a standing desk by assessing the students' executive functions with the use of a brain-imaging device.
“Executive functions are cognitive skills we all use to analyze tasks, break them into steps and keep them in mind until we get them done,” said the news release for the study. These skills allow students to manage their time effectively, memorize facts, understand what they read, solve multi-step problems and organize their thoughts in writing.
“Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities,” Mehta said. “Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed.”
Previous studies have noted that students on standing desks were more attentive and responsive to their teachers. Mehta’s study shows that students may not just be better listeners on standing desks, but better thinkers too.
“Interestingly, our research showed the use of standing desks improved neurocognitive function, which is consistent with results from previous studies on school-based exercise programs,” Mehta said.
The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Several studies have shown that spending too much time sitting can lead to a lot of heath conditions such as bad posture which can lead to back pains, and a sedentary lifestyle that can up the children’s risk for obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, the World Health Organization reports physical inactivity as the fourth largest risk factor for death globally.
If the idea of a standing desk has got you sold but are at a lost for where to get them, the company Jaswig makes them with kids in mind. Might be worth a try, right?
Source: Jan. 14, 2016. "New study indicates students’ cognitive functioning improves when using standing desks". news.tamhsc.edu