WHAT IS A STANDING DESK?
Standing desks are raised desks made so you can stand comfortably and work proficiently. They come in all shapes and sizes, just like humans, and are suitable for any student or classroom setting.
THE BENEFITS OF STANDING DESKS
Standing desks are not simply taller versions of a normal, seated desk, or at least they shouldn’t be.
Quality standing desks for students are designed based on exhaustive ergonomic research to provide an optimal workstation for students of all ages. More importantly, standing desks are designed to solve a crucial problem. At school, students are sitting 50-70% of their day, which contributes to many health problems students struggle with on a daily basis.
Not only do standing desk benefits offer a surface to work on, but they change the way students work and improve physical and mental health - all by standing up. You might think seated versus standing is a subtle change, but it makes a world of difference in the lives of teachers and students that have adopted standing desks in their classrooms.
So, let’s dive into the immediate, long-term, and cultural standing desk benefits that can impact any classroom - including yours! Start reading at the top or pick a section of interest to jump to. We’ve seen the benefits of integrating standing desks in the classroom firsthand, and we’re excited to share them with you.
JUMP LINKS TO STANDING DESK BENEFITS
IMMEDIATE BENEFITS OF STANDING DESKS
Break a Sedentary Lifestyle
LONG-TERM BENEFITS OF STANDING DESKS
Lowers BMI/Fighting Obesity
Improves Mental Health
Reduces Back Pain
Other Health Benefits
CULTURAL BENEFITS OF USING A STANDING DESK
STANDING DESK MYTHS DEBUNKED
“Standing All Day is Bad for You”
“Standing Desks Aren’t Going To Radically Change Your Life.”
“Standing Desks Are Too Expense”
-IMMEDIATE BENEFITS OF STANDING DESKS-
Contrary to the popular belief, there are immediate benefits for students that come from using standing desks throughout the day. There are countless ways that individuals can reap benefits from merely standing more often. In fact, you can see standing desks used in institutions ranging from elementary Catholic Schools to Google’s headquarters.
If you are wondering what immediate benefits made these organizations invest in standing desks? Here are some of the top reasons.
BREAK YOUR SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
*SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: Constantly lacking the appropriate physical activity throughout the day. Commonly referred to as a couch potato...
Sitting all day is a difficult thing to do. Yet, sedentary lifestyles are becoming more acceptable in schools, making it hard for students to change their habits later in life. Our bodies are made to move, yet we confine students to desks to sit for the majority of a day.
Follow our logic here... an easy way to combat sitting all day is to stand intermittently! Encouraging kids to stand up in class while they are young helps break sedentary habits that could stay with them the rest of their lives.
To break a sedentary lifestyle, simply make standing desks available in the classroom and incorporate some much-needed movement into the day's curriculum and activities. Most teachers who use standing desks in their class report a more productive and enjoyable day simply because they and their students are more active and engaged. If you establish these principles into the school day, you can build long-lasting healthy habits in students that support an active lifestyle.
INCREASE FOCUS BY STANDING
Have you ever seen students going through an after lunch slump? Matter of fact, have you ever felt the effect of an after lunch slump yourself? You know that feeling after having a meal...you become tired, fatigued, and the last thing on your mind is the lesson for the day. It can be hard for students to overcome taking a nap at their desks at this point.
An easy way to combat a students’ disengagement with the day’s lesson is to allow them to stand up and move around.
Standing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve memory and focus.
Research shows that classroom standing desks can also enhance cognitive skills and improve test scores. By understanding these essential benefits, you can start creating new, healthy and productive habits in yourself and your students.
Would you rather feel sluggish and tired all day or alert, clear-minded, and focused? I know which option I would choose: standing at my desk.
*Aerobic Exercise: Any exercise that gets your heart beating and your blood pumping.
Here’s the cool part, standing isn't cardio, but it does bring an aerobic element by increasing your heart rate and burning
many more calories compared to sitting. Using a standing desk is an easy way to leverage the benefits of aerobic exercise such as reducing high blood pressure, warding off diabetes, improving metabolism, and increasing memory.
In the last few decades, more and more schools are reducing the gym and recess times in schools. One way to fill this void is by introducing standing desks for students that allow for aerobic exercise in the classroom. This helps to get the wiggles out without taking away from the teacher’s lesson. Additionally, there has been research conducted that proves children can burn up to an additional 15% of calories just by standing instead of sitting.
Active settings create healthy environments for kids, and moving can increase focus and creativity in students. And, the benefits of using student standing desks is cumulative - research has shown that standing periodically throughout the day can be the equivalent of walking 5 miles per week!
-LONG TERM BENEFITS OF STANDING DESKS-
The health benefits of using standing student desks can have a lifelong impact. By actively moving, you can become a healthier and more productive person. It may be more simple than you think to relieve some of the wiggles and discomforts students can get from sitting at a desk all day!
Here are some of the long-term health benefits associated with standing desks.
STANDING LOWERS BMI & FIGHTS OBESITY
Obesity is a growing problem in our country, and it’s not going to stop unless we actively fight against it. Fighting childhood obesity might seem like a daunting task, but there are several ways to combat it. Minor changes in the classroom can help immensely. It can be as simple as replacing traditional desks with standing school desks and prioritizing movement to break up a sedentary lifestyle.
That adds up to children burning 17-35% more calories, depending on their original weight, when standing versus sitting.
The body mass index (BMI) of children in America is trending in an unhealthy direction. And, it’s important to actively manage this unhealthy trend by introducing healthy habits in the place children spend a lot of their time - the classroom. If you don’t know what BMI is, it is simply a screening tool used by health professionals to determine a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and much more.
BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by their height squared (meters^2); the higher the quotient, the more the person is at risk.
Standing desks in schools offer a promising benefit that we should all pay attention to. That is, standing desks installed in classrooms have been proven to lower children’s BMI. This is mainly due to the increased movement introduced into the classroom when standing is encouraged and embraced. And, it’s not only limited to standing.
Redesigning traditional lecture-based classrooms to active learning environments that allow for movement to burn excess energy can have immense benefits on a student’s health.
STANDING DESKS BENEFIT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to understand mental health is a serious issues in the classroom today. It’s estimated that 5-10% of the population suffers from depression. As well, many students suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.
The brain is not as active when students spend an excessive amount of time sitting still and disengaged. This lack of activity may lead to depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and other problems. We are more healthy, physically and mentally, when we are engaged, active and productive.
A way to help combat these mental health issues is to add movement to the day. Moving increases blood flow and releases certain chemicals in the brain that can improve moods and boost self-esteem. The benefits that come from standing desks are not the cure to all of the mental health issues listed above, but they can aid in the healing process. Think of a standing desk and an active lifestyle as one of the tools to help improve the overall mental health of students. After all, they spend a significant part of their day in a school building - doesn’t it make sense to create an environment that will encourage healthy behaviors?
REDUCES BACK PAIN
Sitting stationary for hours can encourage the bad habit of slumping, and we can’t forget the added weight of carrying a
backpack full of books around all day. Standing, however, helps to align your back and make you more aware of your posture, which in turn reduces back pain.
Traditional desks can encourage students to sit hunched over at their desks, causing them to collapse their diaphragm, take in less oxygen and encourage lousy posture habits. Students need to learn and be attentive in the classroom, so an environment that negatively affects concentration and focus is not ideal.
Without getting too physiological, one of the benefits of standing desks is the increased oxygen and blood flow that results from standing up instead of sitting slumped over at their desk. Standing up equips students with a habit of practicing good posture. While most students may not suffer from intense back pain right now, they are forming habits that will affect their posture for the rest of their life. Students that are weighed down by heavy backpacks and forced to sit most of the day do not have a chance to practice good posture. Adding a standing desk is a simple solution to this problem. And, it might just save some students from a lifetime of bad posture and back pain.
The saying “thinking on our feet” should be applied to our lives. Standing desk benefits have been proven to reduce disruptive behavior, and lead to happier environments where we can think more clearly and focus on the task at hand.
The results of a lengthy study show that standing enhances classroom management, encourages collaboration between students, and increases classroom engagement. Since standing desks in the classroom can help reduce disruptions, students are more likely to focus on the lesson, retain the curriculum and deliver improved test results.
Standing desks have another benefit in the classroom, as they can aid in reducing overall stress levels of students too. Students take around 100 tests between Pre-k and 12th grade, so it’s understandable that they feel exam anxiety over the years. Movement in the classroom, encouraged by the addition of standing desks, can combat this stress and improve the confidence, mood, and social development of students.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
Lowers High Blood Pressure.
What if you could help reduce high blood pressure with minimal effort? That’s where standing desks come into play. Increased aerobic exercise is yet another benefit of standing desks.
By just standing up, you will burn calories through the movement you are exerting. By using a standing desk, our research shows that an individual can lose up to 20-pounds in a year.
Help ADHD Students Focus.
It can be especially tough for students with ADHD to sit still all day at school. There have been many studies conducted proving that standing desks in classrooms can help children with ADHD focus on the lesson by allowing for some non-disruptive movement at their desk.
It’s natural to move around periodically over the course of the day, and restricting movement can create a barrier in the learning environment. Whether it is transitioning from sitting to standing or using a fidget bar allowing students with ADHD to move, adding a standing desk benefits the student- allowing them to focus on the lesson and not the anxiety they feel trying to be still all day.
-CULTURAL BENEFITS OF USING STANDING DESKS-
Standing desks directly benefit schools and learning institutions by increasing engagement and collaboration in the learning environment. Most schools still use traditional desks, which require you to sit for long hours and be confined to a limited amount of space, leading to a sedentary and unmotivated approach to working. However, research increasingly validates the concept of active and collaborative learning.
If you compare our society to the early 1900’s, it’s obvious a lot has changed in the way students learn and the resources
at their disposal. However, if you compare our classroom furniture to the early 1900’s, there’s not that much difference.
Sure, the material that the furniture and classrooms are built out of are different, but considering how much technology and society has evolved since then, why haven’t our classrooms evolved too?
In today’s digital world, traditional seated desks encourage a passive, sedentary approach to learning that creates barriers to overcome on a daily basis. By adding standing desks, you create an environment where students feel free to focus on the lesson (not the fact they feel confined), which improves classroom management and increases student attention spans by 15 %, according to research. Standing desks also impact the health, learning, and socialization skills of students in classrooms.
Standing desks are also a learning tool in and of themselves. Teachers can push standing desks together to create a group workstation for students to collaborate around. If the classroom only has a few available standing desks, teachers can use them as a reward for good behavior. Simply put, teachers are only limited by their own imagination when it comes to incorporating standing desks in the classroom and using them to create optimal learning environments for their students.
STANDING DESKS INCREASE COLLABORATION
You remember that feeling when you were a kid, and the teacher asked you to stand up in front of the class? You felt the social pressure of all the other students and the teacher singling you out. Depending on the student, this can be a very stressful event. In fact, for some students, simply having the teacher hover over them while they are seated at their desk is enough to cause intense anxiety that distracts from learning.
So, here’s an option to let students feel like they are literally on the same level with the other students and avoid anxiety inducing moments in the classroom - give students the option of standing and moving at their standing desk. This slight modification in classroom setup breaks the barrier established by seated desks aligned in a traditional lecture-based setup. This approach also encourages a collaborative community atmosphere.
When students are confined to one space, at their desk, it creates a mindset that they need to do their work by themselves. VARIDESK Education standing desks, for example, can easily be moved together to create standing tables that encourage collaboration between students.
Using standing desks makes it easier for students to form groups without the clunkiness of desk chairs and students are more likely to be alert and engaged with others because they have better visibility with their peers.
INCREASE ENGAGEMENT BY STANDING
Research by Dr. Mark Benden at Texas A&M University has proven that standing desks can lead to a more attentive school environment, and they can positively impact student’s behavior in class. Their studies have shown that classroom engagement and attention increased by 12-15%!
Students benefit from standing desks in the learning environment because they have an outlet to release energy and encouragement to engage in the lesson. This type of learning environment is often referred to as a Makerspace. By giving permission and encouraging students to move throughout the day, you create a new learning environment that makes room for creativity and gives students the freedom to learn in new ways.
-ARE STANDING DESKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?-
Some people might say that the benefits of standing desks are a myth. Well, here are the three top arguments against standing desks, and how our research disproves them.
MYTH #1: “Standing all day is bad for you.”
Many people will say that standing all day is bad for your health, therefore, sitting all day at your desk is better, right? Actually, there is a wealth of research proving sedentary lifestyles are much worse for you than an active lifestyle that allows for periodic movement. Standing desks provide the option to stand and work instead of sitting hunched over at a desk for a full day.
We understand that it can be uncomfortable to stand all day. Sometimes your feet just need a rest! At VARIDESK Education, we don’t encourage it to be an all or nothing choice. If you stand and work for just a couple hours a day, you can improve your overall health.
VARIDESK Education desks have stools that you can lean or sit on, as well as footrests that can help align your back while working. You can alternate your standing position during the day to suit your needs, supporting an active lifestyle that makes you comfortable. Of course, this applies to your students, as well.
Here’s the bottom line: You don’t have to stand all day long for you or your students to realize the numerous benefits of standing desks. If you get tired, take a break. Then, stand up again to stay focused, active, and engaged.
MYTH #2: “Standing desk benefits aren’t going to radically change your life.”
You may think that standing more during the day won’t actually contribute to your overall health, but our research has shown that standing desk benefits can address everything from increased focus, combating obesity, enhancing attention spans, and much more.
Standing desks are an effective and useful addition to any school interested in breaking sedentary habits in their staff and students. Most students go to school, immediately sit down at their desk, and stay there most of the day. This type of sedentary lifestyle is what contributes to growing health problems in children such as obesity and mental health disorders.
Student standing desks are the most accessible tool to help administrators and teachers change the environments of students for the better. If you combine the effects of healthy eating habits with increased movement and active learning in the classroom, research shows you’re school could encourage a rise of 15% daily calorie expenditure. That goes a long way toward addressing common health problems in students around the country, and is just one of the reasons schools are making the switch to standing desks. It’s a growing trend backed by research, and an approach you’re school can benefit from.
MYTH #3: “Standing desks are too expensive.”
You may have researched standing desk prices and concluded that they are too expensive for your budget. However, you should know that we ran the numbers and it’s actually cheaper in the long run to install student desks! The benefits you recieve from standing desks can pay for themselves by increasing test scores and student engagement - critical aspects of school funding.
If you are worried about having the funds to purchase standing desks for your school, there are many grants and fundraising opportunities out there! Here at VARIDESK Education, we want to walk with you through the process of getting your standing desks, so we have pulled together several resources for you. If you have questions, we’re more than happy to talk to you about grants or fundraising to install student standing desks in your school.
Standing desks benefit classrooms by providing a sense of community and freedom of movement. If you compare the classroom furniture of the past and the traditional furniture of today, you’ll notice that not much has changed despite the vast differences in the technology, culture, and resources available to today’s students. In the 21st century, classrooms, schools, students, and teachers come in all different shapes, sizes, and mindsets. The “one size fits all” desk doesn’t work the way it used to, and schools around the country are realizing the advantages of active furniture and standing desks in the classroom.
This simple change in student desk configuration can radically change the classroom environment for the better and impact the learning behaviors and lifestyle students take with them as they grow. If you’re classroom needs a change or you are looking to purchase new classroom furniture to create an active, engaged, and healthy learning environment, take some time to consider VARIDESK Education standing desks.