Standing vs Sitting in Class. Which is Better?


Photo by Sophia Massaro

A group of students sit and work in Erica Mullikin’s relifion class.

Sitting the entire time during a 75 minute class can cause students to have trouble concentrating. Many students start to feel sluggish or distracted near the end of a class period, and sitting could be to blame. 

“If you sit too long, your brain gets clouded and distracted,” explained science teacher Sally Craven. “So by standing up not only do you get oxygenation, but also give a stimulus to your brain.” 

With the block schedule, classes are longer and a lot of students can get restless. According to Berkley Tech, standing up for as little as one to two minutes, called micro-breaks, can improve fatigue and increase blood flow. 

“Students can’t sit [75 minutes] for a very long time without getting distracted,” Craven said.

Students can get tired and lose train of thought easily when sitting down, especially in the morning. Standing and doing a little stretch can provide the brain a boost of energy when needed. 

“I feel that standing up and stretching after sitting for so long gives me motivation when I sit back down to work,” sophomore Alexia Sandonas commented.

Sitting for too long has negative long-term side effects as well. According to Harvard Medical School, too much sitting can cause an increased risk in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, specifically colon or breast.

“If it is possible in the room, I think teachers should encourage students to stand up and stretch,” Craven shared.

While Craven thinks every teacher should have students stretch, not all teachers have thought to include it in their classes.

“I’ve never thought about having students do that during class,” technology teacher Maria-Rose Cain admitted. “Although several of my classes include moving around the room.”

Taking a bathroom break and walking a lap is a great way to give your brain a boost of energy. It is quick, easy, and helps a lot when it comes to lack of focus.

“Sometimes I need a breath of fresh air and walking around helps a lot,” Sandonas added.

Although sitting too much can cause bad side effects, standing all day can be a problem also. The recent trend has been standing desks, where you can work, but instead of sitting you are standing. However, Harvard Medical School says that standing all day can cause an increased risk for back and foot pain.

“I found it better to stand and work than to sit all the time,” Cain explained. “I usually don’t sit while teaching, either.”

Instead of an adjustable standing desk, she uses a high-top table with high char that she uses as a desk. With that she can sit or stand while working.

“I don’t like sitting all day long,” Cain explained.