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.
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.