A Guardian post has highlighted what we at Healthy Home & Office have long felt – and said – is an urgent health issue that is gathering speed each day.
We have been grievously neglecting our children’s musculoskeletal health, not only through use of rigid, un-ergonomic furniture in schools, but also by the introduction and encouragement of the use of technology without the accompanying education in its safe and comfortable use.
Sitting has been the leading model for learning in schools for decades. Historically, educational and scientific communities believed that thinking and movement were separate entities. Now we are discovering just how connected standing, movement and thinking are. Having run trials with local schools, we are seeing first-hand how standing desks have benefited children of all abilities. Just the simple change from sitting to standing increases concentration and productivity. Children that find it hard to focus or engage benefit from standing.
Helping to tackle obesity is part of encouraging children to embrace an active lifestyle – giving them the best possible start to adult life. Standing desks have shown to burn 350 calories more than sitting in the day; that’s the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year! A group of health campaigners, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, has called for pupils to stand at their desks during the school day, in order to help tackle obesity.
Research carried out by Helena Webb, a paediatric physiotherapist at the ABM University Health Board in West Glamorgan, reports that ‘more than two thirds of primary school children have reported experiencing back or neck pain over the course of one year….The findings underline a growing concern among the medical community about the effects of excessive use of computers, games consoles, smartphones and tablet computers on young people’s developing bodies.’
This research comes not a moment too soon. Not long ago we had a showroom visit from a 19-year-old university student who, it transpired, had spent NINE hours the previous day on his laptop, hunched, slouched and twisted in various unsympathetic postures. If technology is here to stay – and undoubtedly it is – what is the solution for our young people?
Ultimately, it is down to the adults – teachers, parents, administrative staff – to start educating students. Very few people are aware of options like a separate keyboard or separate mouse for a laptop, or a laptop arm that holds the screen at optimal height and position for each individual – and yet these can make all the difference. Equally, parents investing in simply, low-cost ergonomic solutions for the home, like the Hokki stool or a standing desk, can go a long way towards keeping young bodies in balance.
Don’t wait for the government to make it mandatory! Take a moment now to consider your children’s posture and their long-term health.
Call Sally, Phil or Candi to discuss How we can help. 01483 600085