We know the answer we just aren’t applying it!
Movement is the answer. This is a little carryover from my recent blog about movement and how that can help create a resilient, injury free all rounder who is ready of any thing that life throws at them be it in sports, fitness, work or home life for you kids.
Get kids standing to reduce Childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity is and is going to continue to be a massive problem for us as a society. According to the Australian Government via the Australian Institute of Health and welfare, 1 in 4 Australian children aged between 2-17 were overweight or obese in 2014-15.
We know NOW the massive problem we have with childhood obesity. They are eating the wrong foods-too many processed foods with high amounts of sugar, grains and industrial oils. They aren’t moving or exercising enough and spend too much time on technologies like ipads, phones and too much screen time. Stand up desks in schools will help kids keep in constant motion by standing, moving and changing feet position. Being a former high school teacher, I recognise that kids cannot learn in the old sit still and shut up model we have been running for decades. Times have changed, get kids standing up at their desks. Kids with ADD cannot actually learn whilst concreted to a sitting desk. They need to move to keep their brain active, they think better and behave better this way. Stand up desks allow kids to interact and develop social skills. They are actually a better way for people and kids to write, it improves neatness and handwriting skills. Studies have shown that kids sit for about 4 and half hours a day. Think about it, we sit to eat breakfast, sit in the car or bus on the way to school, sit all day in the classroom, come home, sit to eat dinner, sit to watch television, ipad or computer. We know the answer- get kids standing up and moving to help create fit, all-rounder that are resilient and less likely to get injured. Obese kids with stand up desks at school burn 25-35% more calories per day! Kids are more engaged in a standing classroom and can interact better, increasing social skills and group work. In the very least it creates a discussion around movement being the norm and according to Stand Up Kids, a great US based website highlighting the benefits of movement in the early years, it creates a “movement rich environment and as one researcher put it, physical activity is cognitive candy”. In other words it helps their brain function as well as their physical and motor skills. Other benefits to stand up desks in classrooms include:
- Reduces disease, orthopedic dysfunction and impedes children’s ability to learn.
- Obese kids burn up to 35% more calories per day.
- Classroom management is easier for teachers
- If kids are given the opportunity to move through the day they will take it.
- When students move more, their education improves.
- Kids are happier when they are not restricted in a chair.
- Behaviour improves with active learning and kids have more creativity.
- Students can shift their bodies and change position when they need to stay focused.
- Standing prevents the body’s tissue adaptation to static positions-short hip flexors and hamstrings, rounded shoulders and back positions), it doesn’t erode the child’s physiology like sitting does.
- Standing maintains the integrity of the complex motor skills required for optimal physical function.
- Reducing sedentary time reduces cell aging which means kids will live longer and be healthier.
According to the Stand Up kids website moving more is the key to better cognition and learning. This next part comes straight form their website, I couldn’t say it better myself…
“Sitting still has been our dominant model for learning in schools. For decades, the educational and scientific communities seemed to believe that thinking was thinking and movement was movement, and each was as separate as could be. We were wrong.
Research definitively shows that movement and learning are connected –
In order for children to learn, they need to be able to move.
Students who are engaged in daily physical education programs consistently show not just superior motor fitness, but better academic performance and a better attitude toward school than their students who do not participate in daily P.E.
MOVEMENT IS KEY
In September 2014, the journal Paediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings “demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.”
Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive, maximizing the utility of time spent in class. The improvements in this case came in executive control, which consists of inhibition (resisting distraction, maintaining focus), working memory, and cognitive flexibility (switching between tasks).
Another study found that a 12-week exercise program improved math and reading test scores in all kids, but especially in those with signs of ADHD.
There are many reasons kids aren’t moving enough any more:
- THE LOSS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION
PE has been cut or dramatically decreased in most American schools. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Today, however, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools provide daily physical education.
In Los Angeles, physical education class sizes rose to 80 students in some cases, making effective teaching nearly impossible. Only 31 percent of California students passed a statewide physical fitness test last year, in part because of budget cuts wiped out physical education programs. In a 2011 survey released by the California State PTA, 75 percent of California PTA members said their children’s PE or sports programs were cut or reduced dramatically.
- KIDS DON’T WALK TO SCHOOL
Among students living within 1 mile of school, the percentage of walkers fell from 90% to 31% between 1969 and 2001.
According to the CDC, only 13% of children walk to school today compared with 66% in 1970.
- INCREASE IN SEDENTARY ACTIVITIES
A groundbreaking study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children between ages 8-18 are spending, on average, 7.5 hours/day in front of a screen SITTING, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Combine that with the time sitting at school (between 4-6 hours/day), driving to school, sitting at meals, and doing homework at kids are spending 10-14 hours/day or 75% of their waking hours in sedentary positions.
In 1980, there were 81,000,000 TVs in American households. Today, there are 324,000,000 TVs. At the same time the number of TVs has tripled, the number of obese children and adolescents has also tripled.”
I for one will be championing for more physical education time in schools, get kids moving more, out in nature and getting stand up desks! Get these kids active and moving from an early age and we will reduce a myriad of health issues in the future!