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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Study Spotlight: Will Standing Make you Smarter?

By: Andrew Jagim

It's no secret that we are advocates for standing while at work as the list of potential benefits are endless and range from reduced back pain to increases in calorie expenditure throughout the day.  One area we haven't discussed quite as much are the potential benefits of standing desks for our kids who are generally forced to sit 5-7 hours each day while at school. So the question then becomes, could incorporating standing desks into the classroom also benefit students also? Researchers at Texas A&M University sought out to find the answer...

What did they do?
Researchers followed freshmen who elected to go with a standing desk versus the traditional seated option throughout the entire academic year.  Students completed testing pre and post to assess improvements in cognitive functioning. The research staff had students complete several computer based exams to test skills relating to how we develop academic skills, analyze tasks, and remember information for future use.  Researchers also used a portable brain-imaging device to examine associated changes in brain function during completion of the tasks.

What did they find?
Long story short, results showed improvements in executive function and working memory which corresponded with improvements in brain activation patterns as well.

Take home Message:
This is one of the first studies that has quantitatively examined improvements in cognitive function in students who use a standing desk.  Not only are there behavior, weight and movement-related benefits of standing while at school, it appears as though we can add cognitive function to the list as well!  I know for a fact I will be an advocate for the use of stand-up desks for my kids when they are school age. There is an increasing amount of evidence emerging relating to their benefits.

To find a full list of standing desk options and reviews check out Reviews.com Standing Desk Review

Reference:
  1. Ranjana Mehta, Ashley Shortz, Mark Benden. Standing Up for Learning: A Pilot Investigation on the Neurocognitive Benefits of Stand-Biased School DesksInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015; 13 (2): 59 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph13010059

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