“The median student sits for 9-10 hours daily” -Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL)/OTUS 2013
“We are sitting ourselves dead” -Yle 2014
“Sit less – feel better!” -Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2015
“Pylly ylös -campaign nominated for Health Act of the Year!” -Finnish Student Health Service 2016
“Even a small decrease in the amount of sitting per day brings health benefits” -Finnish Medical Doctor Journal 2017
“Taking breaks to sitting is a simple way to decrease the bad effects of sitting” – UKK institute 2018
The disadvantages of sitting have for long been talked about in public, but actual decreases in the amount of sitting have hardly happened. While classrooms are planned in such a way as to help decrease sitting, but it’s not so easy to change old habits: both the teacher and the student can feel awkward setting up some sort of small activity or exercise during class.
METKA’s advocacy team’s investigative journalism unit tried out tips to decreasing sitting. Here are some of the results:
Standing during class
Standing during class in the auditorium felt quite natural, since the sides had high tables to work at. It felt easier to focus on the class while standing as well, since while sitting it’s easier for the mind to wander or hands to get distracted doing something small. In a smaller classroom you would’ve had to stand at the back of the classroom as to not be in the way of anyone and there wouldn’t have been tables to use to write on while standing.
Standing up during class
The investigative unit tried out taking breaks from sitting often and stood up for a few minutes about every fifteen minutes. Each break gave a chance to stretch the lower back and legs, which felt like it helped circulate blood better.
Walking out of the classroom on each break
The lecturer held breaks about every hour, which was quite good. During the eight hour lecture day there were a lot of breaks when many students wouldn’t get up and leave the classroom, but instead focused on their phones while sitting on their chair. It felt refreshing to leave the classroom on every break to get some fresh air from outside, even if it wasn’t always easy to leave alone.
Getting class materials from the teacher instead of it getting passed around
The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) has recommended teachers and lecturers not to hand out materials by passing them around the classroom, but instead have all students get the materials from the front of the classroom, in order to have a break in their sitting. This was something that should’ve been told to the lecturer. The list of participants started to get passed around before this tip came into mind. There may be less papers handed out these days, but reminding the faculty about tips on how to decrease sitting is nevertheless an important step.
This post is also available in Suomi.