26 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
The third area of benefit involves the link between exercise and
improvement in mental health. Students and faculty are working and
living in a fast paced and at times, stressful environment. Many, if not
most, live a long way from the place they call home. Consistent exercise
and movement has been proven to decrease stress as well as address
mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Exercise is in fact
so effective as a cure for these mental health problems that many
psychiatrists recommend a physical activity program before anti-depressants or other drugs. Giving our community more opportunities to
move will increase both their mental and physical wellbeing.
Lastly, there is a small percentage of students who particularly struggle
with attention and focus in a classroom environment. All educators have
taught a child who cannot seem to sit still, is always rocking back and
forth, tapping their feet, or cannot stay seated in their chair. Many of
these students may have an over-aroused vestibular system.
Occupational therapists describe this as someone who is constantly
seeking movement and sensory input from their environment. These
students could use the walking workstation in the classroom to allow
them the movement they crave while completing tasks they would
normally do at a traditional seated desk.
The feedback from the surveyed participants indicates that there is a
desire for walking workstations to be implemented in some format in the
future. The varying solutions suggested a range from common area desks,
to more private walking offices to even walking meeting rooms. The data
suggests that ASB should continue to research and develop the idea of
active workstations. The school has a responsibility to its community to
ensure that physical and mental wellbeing is prioritized, especially given
it has the added potential of increasing academic results.
Another aspect for further investigation following this prototype is which
incarnation of the active workstation would be most suitable for the
students and faculty at ASB? A quick search reveals the availability of desk
bikes, desk steppers, bouncing foot rests and standing desks amongst
others. Is the walking workstation the most effective way to increase