In many classrooms, students are sitting at wooden desks with chairs not suitable for their height. From a young age, children and teenagers develop postural habits, which may not be correct. The Heart Foundation conducted a study, which found that students spend around 7-9 hours a day sitting and up to five of those hours are spent sitting in the classroom or doing homework. Thus, student ergonomics needs to be more of a priority. Furthermore, textbooks are being replaced by iPads, tablets and laptops, which mean that screen time is higher and students are hunching over for longer.
Poor posture among students has been linked to decreased lung capacity, pain, headaches, depression and digestive issues. Other symptoms, which can result from improper furniture, include: pain in the neck, back and shoulders, increased fatigue, muscle imbalances and low levels of concentration, which can result in excessive fidgeting. Early intervention is pivotal and we encourage all students to be more conscious of their posture and the ergonomics of their workspace. In this electronic age, students are spending too much time doing sedentary activities but movement is essential to keep the blood flowing and help reduce poor posture.
In classrooms, height adjustable chairs and desks should be implemented as well as tilting desktops, so that students don’t have to lean or hunch over. There are many benefits associated with implementing correct ergonomics and thus an emphasis should be placed on changing student ergonomics.
Choosing the right furniture is necessary. Take a look our previous post, which looks at how to adjust your chair and body so that you are sitting upright. Next week we will be looking at backpack ergonomics and will provide tips on how to choose and carry a backpack.