Aquest’s designers have been trained by Dr. Deiter Breithecker, a German Health and Kinetics Scientist. Dr. Breithecker has established that office and school spaces need to be designed to encourage the natural movement of the body and frequent changes of position.
The standard day at work or school is spent sitting and the amount of time we spend sitting has increased enormously over the last 35 years compared to what is healthy for the human body.
One obvious result of this lack of activity is that the muscles throughout our body do not get enough use. Spontaneous and regular muscle contractions throughout the whole body are an important part of the circulation system and furnish the brain with the oxygen, proteins and hormones it requires for concentration.
To meet these supply requirements, the brain subconsciously sends signals to the muscles to move. The rigid furniture and environments that we find in office environments and schools today hinder this self-organized movement.
Spontaneous movement vs. Planned movement
We’ve all seen (or have been) the student who is rocking on his chair. This child is subconsciously carrying out the activities that are required to supply the brain with the oxygen, proteins and hormones required to focus.
A recent study has shown that “intuitive, spontaneous physical activities such as fidgeting, standing and walking are based on supply requirements…Those basic activities have a high impact on healthy functions” (Owen et al. 2010).
Although this complex and spontaneous movement is necessary for all ages, it is most essential that children and adolescents have the ability to perform this level of activity daily throughout their learning years. Dr. Breithecker explains that this quality of spontaneous movement cannot be replaced by physical activity outside of work hours or school.
We must reduce the quantity of hours spent sitting as well as looking for ways to increase the quality of sitting when we are required to be seated.
Spontanous movements results in better grades.
“children who fidget… learn more quickly than those who stay still” and that may be a by-product of knowledge attainment as students fidget more “when a task required them to store and process information rather than just hold it”. (Welk, 2010)
Studies show that students with sensomotoric stimulation achieve better marks on exams.
Dynamic chairs provide the opportunity to move.
Aquest Design is a partner with VS Furniture from Germany. Together with Dr. Breithecker, VS Furniture have developed furniture that facilitates the natural, subconscious movement of the body while seated.
Examples of furniture that has been designed to facilitate spontaneous movement are as follows:
- Dynamic chairs and stools which support the subconscious movement of the body (Pantomove – Hokki)
- Standing height collaboration tables (Team, Puzzle, Rondolift)
- Flexible furniture which is easily rearranged (Litetable, Shift+, Fusion Flip, Interact)
Dr. Dieter Breithecker is the Head of the Federal Institute on the Development of Posture and Exercise in Germany and a member of “Ergonomics for Children & Educational Environment” (ECEE), a technical committee of the International Ergonomics Association. Between 1994 and 1999, he worked as Managing Director of an Ambulatory Rehabilitation Center with emphasis in orthopedic-traumatological syndromes.
Aquest Design periodically hosts Dr. Breithecker to present his “Bodies in Motion, Brains in Motion” presentation, an AIA accredited course that helps this science come to life! If you may be interested in attending this course, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Aquest Design and VS Furniture provide this course free of charge to Architects and Designers and to our customers.