Inactivity in the Classroom Leads to Unhealthy Students

Inactivity_A.-Bosque
CN/Anthony Bosque

By Jesus Figueroa

A warning to all students: sitting in class may be killing you.

Here at East Los Angeles College very little is done to keep students active.

Throughout recent years there have been several reports, published studies and TED talks about the dangers of a sitting for a long period of time.

The American Medical Association has said that sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for your health.

Sitting for extended amounts of time has a correlation with premature mortality,  cancer, obesity, diabetes and even slowing down of our metabolism.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than half of adults in the U.S. get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Two semesters back-to-back, I have taken classes that meet for an extended amount of time and all students do is sit.

Students learn how to draw in art class by sitting for about six hours in a room as they draw bottles, boxes and detailed items found in nature.

If an art professor wants to draw objects found in nature, it would probably be beneficial to take students to a spot around campus and have them draw a plant, a tree or some sort of foliage instead of just having students sit at a desk and stare at a table of objects for six hours.

During a biology class, which had the lab portion right after the class portion, students spent five hours sitting in a classroom. Then, students were expected to go home, read their books and sit another three to five hours in front of a computer.

Even while learning about photosynthesis and plants, students were provided with plants sitting in beakers.

If students were allowed to go outside, observe the trees and plants and come back with samples, it would help get them become more active.

There are alternatives to a simple boring class where students are just meant to reiterate facts from a book or draw objects. Doing so would help ELAC break out of a sedentary lifestyle.

There are some classes where it cannot be helped and students will have to sit through class — math, English and psychology — but a physical education class does not have to be the only class where a student is free to move around.

The American Medical Association recommends adults get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but statistics nationally show that adults sit from seven hours to twelve hours a day.

Statistics in California show that most people are inactive on their leisure time.

Small changes like walking daily can help, but when most classes have students just sit and read, or pay attention to a power-point presentation, coupled with large amounts of homework and time in front of a computer, it becomes difficult to get the recommended amount of of physical activity.

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