Benden and his colleagues investigated how providing students with stand-biased desks (taller desks equipped with footrests for one foot while students stand and tall-ish stools) instead of conventional school desks influenced experiences at school. Students with the stand-biased desk were free to sit or stand, as they wished. The researchers learned that “activity-permissive classrooms do not cause harm to [elementary-school age] students; result in increased energy expenditure that may combat obesity among those in the highest risk categories; and improve behavioral engagement. . . .
Design can increase kid's activity levels
Researchers have learned that youth are more likely to exercise in certain sorts of outdoor environments than others. Stanis, Oftedal, and Schneider found via a study that was published in Preventative Medicine that “cities with more nature trails have higher levels of youth activity and lower youth obesity. . . . increased access to non-motorized nature trails is associated with increased youth physical activity and lower levels of youth obesity, while increased access to nature preserves was associated with lower levels of physical activity.
Research conducted in Finland supports the design of school playgrounds that encourage active living. A Finnish team learned that “higher levels of physical activity are related to better academic achievement during the first three school years particularly in boys. . . . Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores.”
Strategies to make injuries less likely
Create high-value sidewalks
Stair design influences our mental and physical health.
Building design can support/encourage inside exercise through activity-inducing floor plans. Bassett and his crew recently conceptually replicated the findings of earlier researchers, investigating “if buildings with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases result in a greater percentage of people taking the stairs.” They conducted research in “3 buildings on a university campus. One of the buildings had a bank of 4 centrally located elevators and a fire escape stairwell behind a steel door.
Botticello and her colleagues investigated the life experiences of people in the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database living in different sorts of areas. They determined that “Living in communities with greater land use mix and more destinations was associated with a decreased likelihood of reporting optimum social and physical activity. Conversely, living in neighborhoods with large portions of open space was positively associated with the likelihood of reporting full physical, occupational, and social participation."
Stair design can do a lot more for us than smooth our trip from one floor to another.