Sitting v Standing
Take a moment to consider the movements and activities in an average day of our children. Typically it will include sitting at school, sitting in front of a screen, sitting whilst in transit to and from school, doing homework and eating meals the list goes on. The combination of which means our kids are sitting 85% of their waking hours!
Our bodies work on a completely different level sitting to standing. When we sit our body compresses and many structures then switch off. Standing engages our physiology in a positive manner which may correlate with increased focus and learning outcomes.
Kids burn between 15-25% more calories standing at a standing desk.
Obese kids will burn between 25-35% more calories.
This is a massive shift for our kids with studies showing numerous benefits.This simple intervention has the potential to have a massive impact on one the hottest biggest topics in our community - childhood obesity.
As stated before even if they start to exercise but still have long periods of sitting, their lack of incidental standing movement will not create the energy usage they need nor offset the increased risk of early death associated with prolonged sitting.
Study has indicated that children by increasing incidental standing time helps reduce BMI and blood pressure irrespective of physical acitivity levels outside of the classroom. Best thing about it is the kids don't even realise they are doing it!
Many orthopaedic issues primarily stem from the act of sitting. The list includes:
Poor breathing/diaphragm dysfunction
Carpal tunnel dysfunction
Lower back pain
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
These conditions arise when our body compresses, switches off, deconditions. Creating stagnant tissues which is a state our body hates to be in.
As osteopaths we spend our time trying to get patients away from thier sitting environment or to modify their ergonomics.
Standing desks are an ideal way to counter all of the above. By standing we can engage the various systems and tissues in our body promoting better tissue function.
Why are we letting this issues slowly arise in our children? Why don't we take action now to prevent them ever needing to suffer from any of the issues above?
For children with ADHD, moving and fidgeting is an urge they cannot resist. Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity are regular parts of their school day. Sitting for long periods of time whilst focusing concentration on set tasks can be a challenge. There is no way for these kids to fidget or move around in a non-disruptive way.
However, standing desks provide a great option for these kids to help them burn excess energy by allowing them to move and fidget (many standing desk options have built-in fidget bar).
Study has also shown that sedentary lifestyles only serve to amplify ADHD behaviour. And that for these children they must be able to fidget to learn.
Hyperactivity and trouble concentrating for extended periods of time is challenging for children across the board not just children with ADHD. Implementing standing desks can increase class concentration for all sutdents.
- Improving Classroom Behavior: help ADHD children to stop fidgeting. ADDitude Magazine
- ADHD Kids Must Fidget To Learn; Sitting Still Hurts Concentration And Performance
ADHD & Sitting
Why do this for our kids?
The exciting thing for us is that the research proves what we have been saying anecdotally in practice as Osteopaths for years. Across every physical system in the body let alone their learning outcomes, sitting simply does us no good! We can now voice our opinions and create awareness with confidence. We can engage the whole community in what is best for our kids.
Researchers are looking to provide a link between movement and learning.
For children to learn, is their ability effected by how much they move? Does movement improve quality of learning?
Research has continued to show that students who engage in physical education classes at school have better academic perfomance. Will this translate into their incidental movement patterns throughout the day? As study has already shown the cardiovascular benefits of increasing incidental standing time.
Funding remains a constant battle for schools with some PE classes becoming less resourced. So too, majority of kids no longer walk to school and are spending ever increasing periods of time in front of various screen platforms. Highlighting the urgent need for a simple intervention that will prevent our children leading sedentary lives.