This week, research published by Texas A+M Health Science Centre School of Public Health in the International Journal Of Health Promotion And Education has shown that we may literally think better on our feet.
The team carried out research on around 300 students, aged between 7 and 10 years old, over the course of a school year. During the study, the students were provided with raised ‘standing’ desks which provided them with the choice of either standing or sitting on a high stool.
The researchers found that students had a 12% greater performance on task engagement and were more attentive in the classroom whilst standing at their desks as opposed to sitting. This is equivalent to around 7 minutes an hour more attention to the classroom activity in the standing students. This ‘attentiveness’ was measured by how the students participated in activities via behaviours such as answering or asking questions and contribution to discussions.
Not only were the students more attentive but also less disruptive. The team found those students who were standing were less inclined to participate in behaviours such as talking out of turn.
Dr Mark Benden, an associate professor at the institute involved in the study, was not surprised by the findings. Previous studies have shown that physical activity – even low levels such as standing – can be beneficial to cognitive ability.
“Standing workstations reduce disruptive behaviour problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioural engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work,” he said.
In previous research, Benden found that standing desks can cause students to burn up to 15% more calories than those in a seated position. Therefore standing whilst studying could also help impact on reduction of childhood obesity.