Stand to stop sedentary risks

As I sit at my desk during my fourth 90-minute period of the school day, I suddenly start feeling a stiffness in my back and pain in my neck. After the six hour school day is over, I go home and I am greeted by more homework – and more sitting.

For many other students, it is the same exact routine: ten hours of school work and only a few hours of movement. Imagine this every day for an entire four years of high school. The simple thought of that is enough to be incredibly worrying.

Although many students are athletes or often hang out with friends during the weekends, an alarming study from Preventive Medicine has shown that our generation is just as sedentary as 60 year olds. But this fact is not surprising. With the widespread use of phones and the numerous hours teens spend watching movies or TV shows on Netflix, we reserve very little time for being active.

In fact, children in the United States spend 60 percent of waking hours inactive according to data from the US National Library of Medicine. This sedentary lifestyle increases risks for various conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

One clear solution to this “sitting disease” is to reduce sitting times in classrooms. If teachers incorporate more active lesson plans rather than lectures or allow their students to stand up a couple times per period, then not only will this alleviate the problem but it will also increase their ability to pay attention. A multitude of students, including myself, find it difficult to focus for 90 straight minutes.

Some teachers may have issues with changing their teaching methods since moving around during class may disrupt class time. One way to solve this would be to put several standing desks in classrooms. By improving posture and allowing students to not be stuck in one position, these desks can prevent tiredness and health risks, which will allow them to excel in class.

Of course, standing desks will be a huge expense since there are close to 2000 students at Dulaney. But they are a well worth-it investment. Every day I hear complaints around the school because students are tired, overwhelmed, and bored. What many of them don’t realize is that inactivity is the biggest contributor to this unhappiness.

According to data from Health Navigator, physical activeness improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, and provides better social interactions. All of these benefits illustrate that this is the perfect remedy for sleep-deprived and overwhelmed students. In short, we need to be more active to be less tired.

If we change the classroom environment so that students are less inactive, then we can help change the mood around the entire school so that school is more than just sitting in a classroom for the entire day.