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Office Health

Standing Desks and Accessories help students with Fidgeting

If there’s one thing kids are well-versed in, it’s not being able to sit still. No matter how badly their teachers want them to remain calm, kids are hard wired to be anything but. After all, their bodies and minds are still developing. Through play and movement they learn coordination and other vital survival skills. Unfortunately, this usually means a classroom full of bouncy children that seem to want nothing to do with the day’s lessons, but give them a way to move around, and suddenly test scores get better.

Please Be Standing

Standing desks seem to be a natural fit within classrooms that have long used things like exercise equipment and yoga to help students keep energy levels satiated, finding physical exercise to improve studies. Now with these desks widely available, students are being put in control of their own fidgety habits, resulting in classrooms that are far more focused. While there aren’t extra products yet to help with this, the standing desks themselves come with a few additions that can really increase just how fidget-friendly they are.

Height Adjust

Where most schools stick with a one-height-fits-all stream of thought, others are looking to give their students even more power with self-controlled height adjust. These desks are typically loaded with a spring mechanism that allows for even the weakest of students to change their own desk height when they feel like doing so. Though not the most popular choice, it nevertheless is enjoyed by those that get to use it.

Moving Footrest

Footrests are all but essential for standing desks, as they allow for the comfortable placement of feet and varying heights, however some desks are taking this to extreme levels, employing footrests that swing. Now, it should be noted that students are not encouraged to stand and swing on these as the weight distribution would put the desk off balance, possibly causing a fall. What it does promote is balancing one foot and swinging that or putting both feet on while sitting to utilize the swing. This addition has so far saved the lives of countless teachers’ ankles from fast kicking little feet.

Wheels

Though put on some student standing desks to make room rearrangement easier for the teacher, the wheels add a whole other level of movement to each child’s standing desk. Instead of just up and down, it gives them the power to move on a horizontal plane as well. Though not really incorporated into the fidget fixing method yet, it nonetheless has clear potential for those teachers hoping to dispel even more student energy.

Currently, it seems that standing desks have done all they can to provide students a safe and confined way to exert their endless energy. That being said, it is still an extremely young market and will no doubt see further advancements in additions to desks that help focus study time through embracing everyone’s natural need to fidget.

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Office Health

Science Boosts for more Standing

According to recent studies, standup desks may do more for children than simply helping them wiggle out their extra energy. According to a small study involving 34 freshman, it seems standing at work is well worth the investment.

Only the Beginning

While most studies need to be a bit larger than a mere 34 individuals to truly yield results that can be used as legitimate evidence, the study performed by Texas A&M University was done as a pilot. This means it was a very small preliminary study done to determine if more resources should be poured into this area of research. Hands down, the findings found that, yes, more research should be done.

The study was performed across 34 students during two points in their first year of high school. These points in time were the first weeks of high school and then 27 to 34 weeks later. At lunch, the students completed neuro-cognitive tests monitored by a computer. This included simple task completion, reaction times, decision-making abilities and inhibition. A few were even hooked up to a neuro-imaging tool for brain pattern mapping.

As the group’s sitting time decreased from six hours to five, there was a marked 7 to 14% improvement in both memory and function, two things children are naturally supposed to develop during these pivotal years. While the percentage points aren’t huge, they are similar to the effects of 13 weeks of regular exercise on the brain.

The Future

Like any good team of scientists, they are quick to warn people to not get too carried away with the results. After all, this was merely a starting point to see if there was any need to test the effects of standing desks further. There is also the fact that the total number of students involved decreased from 34 to 27 by the end of the study. There was also no control group.

Even still, the research group wasted no time in starting a bigger, longer experiment to test out these initial findings when paired against their current plan to collect two years of data. They are expecting to see a positive correlation. Plus, implementing and studying the effects standing desks don’t interrupt instruction time or necessitate special accommodations, making it much easier for schools to get involved.

However, even with this data, there are a growing number of educational institutions across both America and Canada already pushing forward with standing desks. Even without scientific findings, teachers are noting marked positive changes. Focusing becomes much easier for the children and teachers are happily reporting better test scores.

Though it may take a while for enough evidence to gather to really hit home to importance of standing desks, anecdotal evidence is rampant, quickly altering the face of today’s classrooms. Some hopefuls are even finding solace in the fact that more standing might just have a positive impact on today’s ever growing obesity epidemic.

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Office Health

Standing Up for a Better Mood!

Exercise has long been heralded as a natural way to boost mood, but did you know that the act of standing up is as effective? Already praised for improving productivity and reducing back pain, it really is not that surprising that such changes would make individuals feel happier. In addition, the studies that have verified this have been happening since well before the standing desk craze took hold, making them all the more worthwhile in regard to what we know about standing desk benefits.

The Take-a-Stand Project

Conducted from March to May in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, researchers created the Take-a-Stand Project as a way to test what more standing would do for employees in sedentary jobs. Over this seven week period, one group received sit-stand devices while the other group, the control, did not. There were about 24 people given sit-stand devices and 10 that remained stationary. Participants were asked to record information during their days using an experience-sampling method. By the end, the results were clear that being able to stand had a significant impact. Those with the sit-stand devices reduced their time sitting by 66 minutes each day and had overall better moods. Unfortunately, these proved to be not permanent as only two weeks after the removal of the sit-stand devices, bad moods returned in full.

Standing & Treadmill Desks

Along with standing desks come those that are fervent about exercising as well with treadmills. After sifting through a wide collection of databases to gather all currently collected data on the effects of just standing versus walking on a treadmill, the data showed that both proved to be beneficial with treadmill desk offering the most physical benefits. As for standing desks, they were just as effective in turning one’s mood around, though the results did vary.

Activity-Permissive Analysis

Excessive sitting as is common for those that work sedentary jobs has been linked directly to obesity, diabetes, early mortality and depression. While there have been studies looking at each one individually, this review took in all of the data to better summarize the evidence for the benefits of introducing activity-permissive workstations to offices. All studies, from those that only had two participants to those with 66, reported positive results, and most findings showed that the activity-permissive stations were great at reducing sedentary time without proving to be a detriment to work. Moods increased as well as health.

Even with so much scientific literature backing up the beneficial mood effects of standing desks, there are still words of caution. The reviews, for instance, noted that there is a lack of long studies and enormous sample sizes. They also want to see research on the sustainability of such desks to better understand what happens in the long term. Currently, though, standing desks are slowly but surely solving the problem of depression in the workplace.

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Office Health

Canadian Standing Desk health benefits

Throughout history, many famous high-achievers, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill all worked at standing desks. (There are far too many examples to list them all here.) Employers like Facebook and Google have an ever-increasing number of workers requesting stand-up desks. Reported benefits, according to The Smithsonian, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ include a reduction in risk of obesity and a few other major diseases, resulting in Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk. Scientists referred to in the article have stated that “the negative effects of extended sitting can’t be countered by brief bouts of strenuous exercise.” One more thing to consider: Standing burns twice as many calories as sitting. Some Canadian offices have taken this to heart and given workers standing desks to help boost their health and fitness levels while they work.
However, standing at a desk all day can also cause problems. The following article details some of these troubles. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296769.php You may start out with sore feet, leg cramps and back ache, but complications can move far beyond that to varicose veins, thrombosis and serious back pain. Symptoms are more likely if you stand with very little movement for extended periods. Pregnant women should stand a maximum of about 3 hours per day – more than that could result in reduced birth weight of their baby. The following article from Corporate Health Resources, Inc. http://www.chr.com/news/ explains that, among other things, standing too many hours a day may result in “preterm birth and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women.”
It has been demonstrated that neither sitting all day nor standing for extended periods, particularly if you cannot move around to maintain good leg circulation, is a healthy option. Although there may be other possible solutions, it appears that one answer is the sit-stand desk. We will discuss this and some other options in a future post.