Think on your feet? Schools try out standing desks for students
Published Sunday, March 22, 2015 10:09PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 22, 2015 11:37PM EDT
Schools across Canada are testing out standing desks for students, an alternative to the way classrooms have been arranged for decades where students typically spend up to two-thirds of their day sitting.
Recent research has pointed to the health benefits of standing desks in schools. One Texas-based study found that students who were given the opportunity to stand during class hours burned up to 15 per cent more calories than students who used regular desks.
The standing desks also appeared to improve concentration.
Toronto teacher Alana Guinane said the idea of introducing standing desks in her class at Donview Health and Wellness Academy just made sense.
"I started thinking about how many times a day I asked children to sit down and stay seated. And yet being sedentary all day, sitting down to learn, might not be the best way to do it," she said.
So standing tables were introduced in her class, giving students a space to migrate to when they feel the need to move.
"I'm a pretty hyper kid, so when I need to expend my energy I get up and move over there -- it helps a bit," student Shashank Anand said.
Student Robert Bisset said while he had his doubts at first, he now enjoys using the standing tables.
"At first I was a bit skeptical on the idea of it, but then I started standing and it was actually really neat," he said.
Educators say parents are also noticing the benefits.
Saskatchewan's Delisle Elementary School has introduced standing desks in its classrooms. Teacher Justin Sauer said it's definitely made a difference in his students.
"People told me their kids were sleeping better; people told me their kids have better posture," he said. "I can say definitively there are five or six kids that have really benefitted from it."
While commercial standing work stations are being marketed with starting prices at up to $500 a piece, one Nova Scotia teacher created work stations that cost about $75 to make.
Adam Aldred, from Barrington High School, said he hopes his design inspires other educators to encourage their students to be more active during the day.
"I just hope to see more of them in teachers' classrooms as we recognize that we need to get our students up and get them active outside of gym classroom," he said.
With a report from CTV News' Medical Correspondent Avis Favaro and Senior Producer Elizabeth St. Philip