Chairs are everywhere, from the seats in our car to the office chair to the restaurant booth where we eat. Sitting seems like the most natural thing in the world, right? Sadly sitting too much is associated with a whole lot of health problems.
Limited mobility and flexibility.
Lead to other health problems.
Standing is a change that many teachers have made successfully and you will often hear teachers raving about their standing class rooms. While being less sedentary is certainly a plus, standing for long periods is also associated with it's own health risk. Ask anyone who stands at work all day and they will have their own aches and pains.
This message isn't meant to confuse you. Thus is the contradictory nature of health science, one must not sit too much, but standing is not a magic cure. importantly, standing with bad body mechanics is worse than sitting with good body mechanics. It can therefore not be oversimplified to say that "Standing is better than sitting."
A setup that allows the teacher to choose either to sit or stand would be the optimal situation.
The case for teaching while standing can also be argued from a job performance point of view, many argue that a standing teacher is more energetic and engaging than a sitting teacher. This point is debatable but not without some merit.
The setup for a standing desk is ultimately very similar to what a person sitting would do.
1. Stand With Good Posture.
The big bonus to standing is not being hunched over your computer. The whole purpose is defeated if you end up hunched over the computer anyways.
Having a mirror to check you posture could be a huge way to augment your class for good health.
Make sure your desk height, monitor, and keyboard position are dialed. Remember to roll your shoulders back under your ears press your chest outward and keep your neck upright.
You may need to bring your monitor closer since your head is likely much further away. Avoid Leaning in!
2. Keyboard Mouse & Monitor
This is where I see most executions of the standing desk go wrong. In a nutshell we want the arms to be able to hang relaxed, elbows at slightly greater than 90 degrees and the wrist neutral or flat. Having the height of your equipment set properly will be the keystone to maintaining good posture.
Don't Shrug Shoulders
Wrist should be neutral not extended.
Elbows slightly greater than 90 degrees
Avoid having to reach for mouse
Head level, not looking up/down
Laptops create a unique challenge. They are made to be portable and not ergonomical. To solve this you have two options, get an external monitor or an external keyboard and mouse. Simply adjust the height appropriately.
3. Take care of your feet.
You may need to wear good footwear with insoles. Your feet are where it all begins and they take all the stress of your standing weight. If you are experiencing pain from standing all day, the first thing to address is footwear. Anti-fatigue mats are also something you should consider.
4. Move, Move, Move!
Our bodies are designed to move, they are not designed to stand like a statue all day.
You should be shifting, stretching, walking, bending, doing yoga poses, squatting, marching and maybe even jogging or running.
Do plenty of TPR during class find creative ways to move.
Move between every class. Stretch and walk if possible, march in place if you can't move about.
Ankle pumps and calf raises during class.
Keep exercise equipment and water in class.