April 03, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
I remember as a kid playing street hockey almost every night after school until it was so dark outside, you couldn’t see the ball anymore. If the weather allowed, we were outside playing. You don’t see that kind of stuff nowadays.
I think most parents would love to see their children being more active, but that seems to be a huge challenge these days. It’s all about academics in school and physical education often gets overlooked. As reported recently on neaToday.org, only 3.8 percent of elementary schools in the U.S. offer the recommended amount of physical education and to make matters worse, many school administrators have cut recess and lengthened the school day. In the future, who knows if school will be conducted at home on a computer, eliminating both the social and physical component from the equation. It will sure make for a convenient and cost-effective approach to education, but not necessarily a healthy one!
If getting our children to exercise seems to be such a struggle, then perhaps increasing their non-exercise activity may be a solution. One way to do this is to use a standing desk at school. Research shows that it can increase energy expenditure in overweight children by as much as 32% and as an added bonus, kids seem to fidget less and learn better on their feet. There are numerous reports that standing desks help children in many ways: kids focus and concentrate better, they pay more attention and are more engaged, they’re more disciplined and exhibit less disruptive behavior, their posture improves, and parents even claim that they sleep better at night.
I’ve heard of many people now using a standing desk in the office world and they love it! Some even use an integrated treadmill desk that allows you to walk slowly on a treadmill while you work. People swear that it improves their productivity, they have more energy, their posture improves, muscle aches and pain (especially low back pain) disappear, and they lose weight. If it works for adults, it should work for kids too!
Obviously, you have more control with your children outside of school – you can enroll them in various activities and restrict television and electronic device time at home – but the reality is that your kids spend most of their time at school. If we’re going to reverse the obesity trend, we need to reverse the inactivity trend at school. That means we need to increase physical education and recess time (not cut it), and we should strongly consider outfitting all schools with standing desks.