UW student brings stationary bike desks to campus

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According to a number of studies and research, sitting down for the majority of your day can be detrimental for your health. Chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer are significantly higher when sitting.</p>

Laura Barkin, an applied health sciences student at St. Paul’s College, is here to help fix that for students on campus. Recently, she introduced stationary bike desks for students to help them exercise while they study.

Barkin believes that bringing these stationary bike desks to Waterloo is important and necessary, as students in particular spend the majority of their time sitting.

“Our society has become more stationary,” said Barkin. “Even in our academic world we have 15 hours of class per week and then you add in two hours of studying for every hour you have class. Now you have 45 hours of just sitting.”

When Barkin first introduced these stationary bikes to St. Paul’s Greenhouse, she hoped for students to perceive the machine as a studying tool rather than just an exercising tool.

“[This] gentle exercise can help you as stress relief and will help people focus better on their school and therefore be more efficient in their studying.”

As an active user of the machine herself, Barkin not only found improvement in her physical health, but in her mental health as well. According to Barkin, it helped her studying skills tremendously, to the point where she has seen improved academic results.

Barkin also believes that using a stationary bike desk would help students restore the natural way humans have learned in the past.

“Think about how the brain has evolved over time from a hunter and gathering society … We were always moving and learning … [The stationary bike desk] is basically changing the idea of how you learn back to how your brain was designed.”

The University of Waterloo currently has three stationary bike desks on campus, two located at St. Paul’s College and one at Conrad Grebel. Barkin hopes that more will be brought to campus to improve students’ studying skills and overall health.

“On campus right now we only really have sitting study spaces,” said Barkin. “We know that students learn in different manners but the only variation [of studying] that we have on campus currently is of noise level … This is a different approach to try and cater to anyone who is willing to try this method of studying.”

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