We’re a nation of couch potatoes. I’m currently slumped over my computer. Have been for the past 4 hours. My shoulders are aching and my hamstrings are tight. I have a habit of crossing my toes. This has made my ankles tense. I’ve been for a run this morning, which probably puts me in the bracket of “extremely active”. That said, I’ve been sat still for 4 hours.
Childhood obesity rates continue to cause concern with one and five school children in England now classified as obese, according to the Government’s National Childhood Measurement Programme for Children. Activity levels amongst children is shocking. Entertainment comes from consoles and smartphones, not kicking a ball around outside.
Exercise is paramount to our health, both mental and physical. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease is on the increase. Diabetes especially is now reaching epidemic proportions in young people. For the most part, this is caused by obesity. Our inactive youth are getting fatter.
Just as worrying, incidents of depression in young people is on the increase. Societal pressures are having adverse mental health effects on our youth. Activity and exercise are known antidotes to mental health issues.
With this in mind, children at Gisburn School in Lancashire will now be able to stand during their lessons with the launch of the world’s first education standing desk.
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, said: “We know obesity rates in children are a major concern. We are creating a generation of habitual sitters because of classrooms, computers, TV and technology. We believe the retrofit desk for children can help with this. Studies in the UK and USA have shown a tremendous benefit to classrooms where they have been installed. They have improved activity levels, cognitive behaviour and results.
“Obviously we aren’t asking children to stand up all day but just to be a bit more active and engaged in their learning.”
According Professor John Buckley of the University of Chester, using a standing desk for three hours a day over a working year, the user would burn more calories than they would completing 10 marathons.
Loughborough, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh Universities have confirmed their interest in piloting the solution.
Catherine Grimshaw, Head teacher at Gisburn said “We were shocked when Nick told us the long term negatives of sedentary behaviour and the impact classrooms have in this. We also were really interested as to the immediate benefits of improved cognitive behaviour and concentration for our children.”
Nick White said “As a local business we’re delighted we have a local school trialling our EIGER Student standing desks. Gisburn is a superb forward thinking Primary School that is showcasing to the rest of the UK active learning in classrooms and the benefits.”