A Sedentary Life May Risk Students' Mental Health

Sedentary Lifestyle May Risk Students' Mental HealthHow a Sedentary Life Affects Mental Health

Honoring tradition is an important part of our culture, but at what point does society strive for better? For decades, learning at school has been approach in a similar fashion. A teacher lectures, while the students are encouraged to sit quietly and listen for hours. Unfortunately for most classrooms, teachers are struggling with classroom management and keeping their students in a healthy mind frame for learning.

Through research, it is now coming to light that a sedentary life can significantly harm students’ mental health. Thankfully, there are some great options to assist in creating healthy classrooms for our children! A new study published by researcher Erin Hoare in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity points out, installing standing desks in classrooms can have long-term benefits in terms of improving health and our children’s education.

What Researchers Looked for in Students

The researchers focused on a handful of different mental health measures, including self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, stress, suicide ideation, psychological distress and several other variables.

After working with teenagers within the study, the research team discovered that there is a very strong line of evidence that connects elevated levels of depression and mental health problems with the amount of time children participate in a sedentary lifestyle. In the study, students who sat in front of a television screen for more than three hours per day suffered from the most extreme mental health conditions.

Download the Free Slide Deck/Ebook

There are two key takeaways from the public research. First, when the mind is not mentally stimulated through problem solving for prolonged periods of time, the brain begins to degrade mentally, which in turn causes a child (regardless of age) to suffer from depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and other problems. Second, this is closely connected with the lack of movement. As movement increases, it not only improves blood flow throughout the body but the brain releases certain chemicals that help improve mood and raise self-esteem.

Cutting the Screen and Boosting Mobility

Recess time is short, and as a child grows, a sedentary life becomes more socially accepted. For a better approach to modern teaching, the ability to move rather than just sit around a desk for hours at a time is important. A few minutes' break between hour long classes is not enough to rejuvenate a child. The best way to do this might be with the benefits that come from using standing desks. Even if a lecture or class places students in front of individual computer screens, the ability to remain erect with legs moving greatly reduces fidgeting, anxiety, and learning distractions. This change from the traditional desk may lead children to see a vital improvement in their overall well-being in addition to their mental state.

Most studies indicate children should spend less time in front of a screen or electronic device and more time up and about. No matter what class a student is in, they are able to do exactly that with the help of a standing desk. If you want to learn more about bringing standing desks to your classroom, check out our School Grant page and feel free to Contact Us for more information.