A new study suggests young students are more engaged during class time when they're situated at a standing desk. Standing, researchers say, forces students to concentrate their energy and focus on scholastic tasks more efficiently.
In observing the behavior of some 300 children in the second, third and fourth grades, scientists at Texas A&M University found a 12 percent increase in on-task engagement in classrooms with standing desks. The increase translated to an average of an extra seven minutes learning time every hour.
"Standing workstations reduce disruptive behavior problems and increase students' attention or academic behavioral engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work," Mark Benden, an associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, explained in a press release.
"Considerable research indicates that academic behavioral engagement is the most important contributor to student achievement," Benden, added. "Simply put, we think better on our feet than in our seat."
The evidence of Benden's claim is detailed in the latest issue of the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education.
Benden first became interested in standing desks for their potential physical health benefits -- specifically as a tool for curbing student obesity. Benden's previous studies have found the use of standing desks helped students burn 15 percent more calories than their sitting peers. Obese children burned an extra 25 percent.
Benden's interest in standing desks may have originated as a way to solve public health problems, like childhood obesity, but he now has a financial interest in their adoption.
Before his latest studies commenced, Benden and his research colleagues founded a startup company called PositiveMotion, a venture aimed at developing a number of patented stand-biased desk products.
But Benden and his fellow Texas A&M researchers aren't the only ones backing the potential physical and cognitive benefits of standing desks. Other studies have found similar benefits among school children. Businesses have increasingly encouraged their employees to adopt standing desks as more and more research details the negative health consequences of sitting for long periods of time.
Standing isn't necessarily the answer, however. Many experts suggests too much time spent standing could prove damaging to joints and place too heavy a burden on the circulatory system.