Health and Wellness for Teachers · Teaching Reflections · Topics for Parents and Students

5 Reasons YOU NEED a stand up desk in your classroom

A fringe benefit of my 21st century classroom has been acquiring a stand up desk. At first, I wasn’t too sure about it. How could I mark standing up? Type? Conference with students? I could envision teaching and lecturing or modelling on the Smartboard, but nothing really beyond that. Then, I saw THIS on Facebook…….Sitting is Killing You.

Now, I’ll be up front here in stating I’m a bit of a health freak, and……… medical hypochondriac; I am banned from WebMD. So, although the infographic linked above wouldn’t give others a second glance, I took it to heart. I started using my standing desk exclusively from that day on, and I can’t say enough about it!

Here’s 5 reasons why YOU NEED one too….ahem….extra $$$ to spend from budgets now that the school year is winding down.

  1. Energy  – I’ve always suffered from the period 3 slump. Lunch was delicious, I’m processing my complex carbs and the buzz from my morning caffeine dosage has worn off. But since I’ve started using my stand up desk I’ve noticed a significant change in my afternoon energy. I’m more alert, and definitely feel as motivated and energetic as I am first thing in the morning. At first, I thought this could all be in my head, so I did a little research and found out that I wasn’t just imagining my new found energy boost. The online magazine, Business Insider published an article 5 years ago about Facebook employees and their increased productivity and energy as a result of using standing desks. Check out the article here: Proof Standing Desks Make You More Productive.

2. Calorie Expenditure – I was super excited when I read that standing  actually expends up to 20% more energy then sitting. I then found a really cool website, called juststand.org that calculates how many extra calories you could burn by just standing instead of sitting at work. For me, that number was 176! That is CRAZY! If I played it on the safe side and used 150 as my extra calorie usage/day, that’s 750 calories burned/week; 3000/month; 30,000/year! Since a person needs to expend 3500 calories to lose a pound, I could potentially lose up to 8 pounds over the course of a school year if I didn’t change my current diet.

3. Visual Vantage Point – When I started using my stand up desk, I was immediately shocked at how much more I noticed from the standing position at the front of my class. I usually stand for half the class when I am teaching, but not often during student work time. Since I’ve changed my habits to standing, I’m finding it so much easier to keep my students on task. First of all, since I’m already standing (and have more energy) I’m more apt to walk the class every couple minutes. Secondly, I can see phones being used in textbooks, things being eaten secretly or ‘contraband’ items (like cigarettes) that are being passed under tables. The vantage point of the standing desk has definitely supported my classroom management, especially during the second half of the period.

4. Digestion – This is going to get a little too personal for some, but when I began using my standing desk, I also noticed that my ‘digestion’ improved significantly (especially after lunch). Again, I though at first that it may be a coincidence, but I’ve been using my standing desk daily now for about 2 months and my improved digestion is still going strong. If you’d like to read a bit more about this benefit, check out the following article: Can Standing Desks Aid in Digestion?

5. Elimination of Aches and Pains – As I’ve moved into my mid 30’s, my body has let me know that things aren’t as they once were.  I’ll add a disclaimer that I do work out quite a bit and still play sports at a fairly competitive level, but still I shouldn’t have been feeling as sore as I was on a regular basis. My right shoulder hurt constantly from playing 20+ years of competitive volleyball, my hips were very tight from sitting for long periods of time and without my daily yoga practice, I felt like I was 60. Sob story,  I  know. What I didn’t know was how much sitting was contributing to some of these aches and pains. Since I’ve started using my standing desk, my shoulder pain at the end of the day has all but disappeared. My first guess at what likely rectified this problem was changing my posture from standing vs. sitting. I recently played a full weekend of volleyball and was shocked when I didn’t have to pump myself with multiple doses of ibuprofen to get through playoffs. That was a major wake up call that my shoulder is feeling really…….good? Very weird. The second thing I noticed was my hips. I have a nagging injury in my left hip from varsity days that has never truly healed. As a result, my hips are always ‘off’, and I get very tight when sitting for long periods of time. But since I’m sitting very rarely now, my hips have loosened up, and my flexibility has improved. No more crazy tight hamstrings! So, in short, my standing desk has significantly reduced some of my ‘aches and pains’ that I thought were age related, when in reality they were most likely due to sitting too regularly.

Convince your admin to buy you a stand up desk!

We all know that a happy, healthy employee is more productive and positive. Start the conversation with that anecdote, then share my blog with your admin! If you need further arguments or evidence based data, check out this fab article I found on one of my favourite health freak sites, Mark’s Daily Apple: How-to Guide: Standing at Work.

Shop…..and test

Unless you’re living under a rock, you most likely have a Staples within an hour’s drive of your home in the province of Ontario. Head on over there and test out some of their standing desks! They have quite a few available, and for some pretty reasonable prices ($150): see link. They also have a furniture warranty and free local delivery. Plus, they have a great Teacher Appreciation Program you can sign up for and received coupons/special offers regularly.  Can you tell I used to be a Staples employee?? (shameless plug)

Final word

So, what are you waiting for? Ask for a standing desk today, and if your admin won’t fund one, fork out the $150 and but one yourself! It will be the easiest decision you’ll ever make regarding supporting your health and wellness in the classroom.

What are your experiences with using a standing desk? Any tips? Suggestions on models to purchase? Leave your comments below:)

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