How does the way you sit affect your health?

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Stretch and sit in a good posture to protect your spine:)

I have tried different types of classroom chairs, and unfortunately, I could not select one comfortable chair. Sitting on these chairs was just a burden.


Students sit on hard plastic chairs for more than five hours daily for the entire school year.  According to Jack Dennerlein, a senior lecturer on ergonomics and safety at Harvard University, “These chairs cause long term problems for students, such as permanent neck and back damage, headaches and an eventual lack of focus.”

Sitting on these stiff chairs for long hours cause:

  • Strains on the student’s backs and necks

  • Low energy expenditure

  • slower metabolism 

  • Neck problems: the neck bends forward

  • Pressure on the neck

  • Pressure on the spine 

  • Wrong posture: the knees higher than the bottoms

  • Inhibited the spine growth(deformation)

  • Restricted blood flow

  • Slouching causes breathing problems( less space for the lungs/ diaphragm to function ) abdomen problems(compasses organs in the belly) 


      Types of postures

circled are the correct postures!


Evolution of Desks and School Chairs in the history:

1881: THE FASHION SCHOOL DESK 

1899: THE STANDING DESK: 

standing desks are one the alternatives to traditional desks. Some of the benefits of standing desks(note: standing desks should not be used all the time. They can be only used to switch and take a break from sitting): According to Robert H. Shmerling, MD Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health ” Advocates of standing desks point to studies showing that after a meal, blood sugar levels return to normal faster on days a person spends more time standing. And standing, rather than sitting, may reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain”

1920: THE WELSH SCHOOL DESK 

1930S: THE ADJUSTABLE SCHOOL DESK

1946: THE PROUVÉ SCHOOL DESK

1950: THE MUNKEGÅRD SCHOOL DESK

1960S: THE STEEL-AND-CHROME SCHOOL DESK  

1970S: THE WRAPAROUND SCHOOL DESK

1980S:THE OLDIS NEW AGAIN SCHOOL DESK

2000S: THE NEW MILLENIUM STANDING DESK

2010: THE NODE CHAIR: my school uses this version of the chair. Even though it is the latest design of school chairs, it is not comfortable.


Response

A) School furniture companies should consider ergonomic chairs in the classroom, invest in them, and make them affordable(this option may take time to have all the schools around the world have ergonomic chairs) After browsing the types of chairs in the schools, most of the school furniture companies do not adopt chairs with many functions, and most of them are wooden or plastic chairs. Those chairs are a big danger because students spend their lives on these chairs. For Jordan specifically, I believe that the ministry of education should cooperate with a company that has a convenient design of comfortable chairs.

Ergonomic chairs

  • Ergonomic chairs adopt features to enhance our posture and give us support. However, they do not do the whole job. The student or the person should also learn how to sit properly.

  • Chairs in the school should be designed in comfortable shapes for the students:

    • be height-adjustable (1): when the knees higher than the bottom, it will put stress on the back and tail bone. 

    • have customized depth and width(2): if that is not considered, there will be pressure at the back of the knees

    • have a tilting chair, giving the student the dynamic(3): it allows the pelvis to choose the correct and comfortable position. Anterior pelvic tilt can affect the students who do not have tilt in their chairs and a  good posture. The pelvis should be in the neutral position with 80-degree angles at the hips, knees, and ankles.

    • adjustable backrest lumbar support(4): this supports the lower back and is considered the most important feature. This shape will support the S shape of the spine, preventing slumping and reducing pressure on the spine and the pelvis.

    • have a backrest recline(5): it will reduce the pressure on the spinal discs and muscles.

    • swivel(6): swivel feature will allow moving freely without strain/ also it will boost teamwork in the classrooms and make it easier for the students to form groups.

    • Armrest(7): reduce the pressure on the upper body and the shoulders.

    • Headrest(8): reduce pressure on the upper neck and the shoulders.

    • good material(9): not slippery surface. Breathable fabric is recommended.

    • have footrest in front of the chair to relieve the strain.

B) Building or using a prototype: students can use a lumbar support or  pillows as a prototype

C) Implementing and encouraging movements and exercises like stretching between the classes.

Here are some exercises which students can do while they are sitting in their seats
Here some more exercises to stretch the thighs and alleviate the stress on the lower back.

D) Incorporating standing desks

standing desks are just a temporary solution. They are convenient, providing a range of movements to fit our workspace. Students should incorporate and mix both standing and sitting postures. Standing prevents from slouching. According to research done by Curtin University, “Standing desks significantly increased classroom standing time and decreased musculoskeletal discomfort reports but had no overall effect on daily physical activity levels. Schools should consider moving towards classrooms enabling a variety of postures to potentially improve the long-term health of children. ” Here is a research that is done in the Australian schools, providing the percentage of sitting and standing during the school day.

Feedback: to vote, please unable the preview mode and vote from the main page:)

Does your school have comfortable chairs and desks?
yes
no
maybe
I do not know
Created with Survey maker

Let me know in the comments below if your school or country suffers from this issue if you suffer from back pain during the school day(it could be also a result of a heavy back bag) if you have any idea about responding to this problem, and if you were asked to rebuild or continue creating a layered version of one the chairs and the desk in the past, what you would do.

Work Cited

6 Comments

6 comments

  1. Rubi_266

    Hey Malak! This is a super neat topic. After watching your video I took a second to correct my posture and sit properly in my chair 🙂 I agree that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Throughout my schooling there has definitely been an evolution of chairs, in fact, the chairs we have now have a curve that encourages you to naturally sit up straight. While I don’t think many people sit with the alignment of the chair, I often find myself in the middle of a class remembering to sit up straight. Aside from physical pain, I wonder how strong the correlation between sitting properly and concentration in class would be? During your research did you come across anything that suggested this? Thanks for sharing this great project!!

    1. Malak_467

      Hi Rubi! Thank you for visiting my page! Yes, that is true. There are some chairs that have curves for us to adust our spine with right alignment. As for the correlation between the way we sit and our concentration level, personally, the discomfort of the desks and pain make me less focused in the class.

  2. Gabi

    Hey there! I loved your topic… It seems frivolous or funny even, but I totally relate! School chairs are so uncomfortable and this year with the pandemic, I have been home and also uncomfortable. We haven’t been getting up and out much, have we?! Anyway, I loved your project and your topic was really interesting to me and super specific! Great job and cool idea:)

    1. Malak_467

      Hey Gabi! Thank you for your nice comment!

  3. Samantha

    Hi Malak!
    Your topic grabbed my attention right away! I read your question as I realized I was hunched over my computer and immediately went to sit up straight. I liked seeing your comparison of different kinds of chairs because while I know different kinds can be uncomfortable, I never really thought of what they could do to your health. Especially sitting in school for a number of hours without standing or moving around that much, it makes so much sense that it would impact your neck and spine health! Great work!

    1. Malak_467

      Hey Samantha! Thank you for your feedback! I also realized that sitting posture not only impacts our health but also our productivity.

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