Sitting in Classrooms — OPINION

Sitting for hours each day is, unfortunately, the norm for students.


Eleanor McCalla

Students finish up a quiz in Trisha Niceswanger’s second-period Spanish 1 class. The desks in Niceswanger’s classroom are standard for most of the school and require students to look down at what they’re doing. This can contribute to neck pain.

Eleanor McCalla, Staff Writer

Seven hours a day, five days a week, 36 weeks a year. Most students spend more of their waking hours at school than anywhere else. Every weekday, students go from sitting in one class to sitting in another with mere three minute breaks in between. What is all of this sitting doing to students’ health?

According to Harvard Health, “A growing body of evidence suggests that spending too many hours sitting is hazardous to your health. Habitual inactivity raises risks for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome.” Additionally, The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior said, “Physiologically, it has been suggested that the loss of local contractile stimulation induced through sitting leads to both the suppression of skeletal muscle lipoprotein lipase activity, which is necessary for triglyceride uptake and HDL-cholesterol production.” 

Granted, most of these sound like, and frankly are, elaborate and complicated medical terms that only come about in the worst of cases. However, numerous students, myself included, feel the hours of sitting each day catch up to them in the form of back and neck pain. According to the Article “Many U.S. children suffer from low back pain,” “18 percent [of people] at ages 14 to 16” suffer from lower back pain. Back pain, as with any other type of pain, can cause students to be distracted and unmotivated during class.

As you can see, excessive sitting is unhealthy, and many students experience pain or discomfort due to it. With this in mind, schools should reevaluate how they function. For instance, 

  • Students should have more extended intermissions between classes or more breaks during class.
  • Teachers should allow students to stand up, lay on the floor, or position themselves in a comfortable fashion.
  • Standing desks or desks with adjustable height should be made available to students who would benefit from using them.
  • There should be time during the day that is reminiscent of recess, where students have time to stand up, walk around, and stretch their legs before going back to class and sitting down again.

If measures were to be put in place to keep students comfortable, healthy, and pain-free during classes, more energy could be put forth on the students’ part to pay attention and excel in their classes.