Bicycle desks help students learn and burn calories

Rows of sleek new school desks outfitted with bicycle pedals are allowing students in Mexico to get through their classwork while getting in some light, calorie-burning exercise in a country known for its alarming rates of obesity.

But for the students From a high school on the outskirts of the bustling city of Monterrey, the new bike desks offer benefits beyond exercise.

“When we are physically activeit also helps us stay focused,” said Reimy Rodriguez, 13, a freshman at Public High School 24. “It’s really amazing.”

One third of all Mexicans are obese And as children get older, many gain weight. A recent national study showed that about 8% of children under the age of 5 had overweight or were obese, which increases to nearly 19% for children ages 5-11.

Sanjuanita Garcia, the school’s principal, points to the post-pandemic benefits of bike desks, especially for children most vulnerable to excessive weight gain.

“After we got back to face-to-face classeswe began to observe a lot of anxiety among our children and how obesity skyrocketed,” he said.

“With this project, we are trying to solve the problem,” he added.

Currently, the school has two classrooms fully equipped with the new desksbut the plan is to gradually add them to the 21 classrooms.

Miguel Ortiz, founder of the company that built them, wanted to make sure that Mexican students could also benefit from the new twist in classrooms healthier after seeing a Canadian school pioneer them.

“We decided to develop a cost-effective prototype that could be implemented here,” he said, noting that each desk for bicycles it costs around 2,700 pesos, about five times less than the Canadian original.

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