Applying ergonomics benefits students’ study habits



Participants practice different stretches and learn how to do quick activity movements while cramming for finals week at “Sit Smart, Study Smart” on Thursday, April 6.

University Recreation and Well-Being continued its Wellness in the House Series with “Sit Smart, Study Smart” on April 6 in the Vandenberg Glass Room.

Anne Maitland a peer wellness ambassador majoring in wellness, health promotion and injury prevention major, develops programs to suit the present needs of college students. She spoke at the event to educate students about ergonomics, or the scientific study of how people work.

Students at the event practiced stretches and workouts they can do at their desks while studying or working. Attendees also adjusted a workstation to fit their own ergonomic needs.

“The primary goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks,” Maitland said.

According to Maitland, students can maintain better posture when applying ergonomics to their study environments.

She said sitting while studying for extended periods can create muscular discomfort and gave other tips to minimize discomfort. 

Maitland said the ideal study environment is different for each student.

“Key components of an ideal study environment would be comfort, adequate lighting and minimal distractions,” she said.

As individual students may struggle to find the right way to study, Maitland’s advice is to try different locations around campus to see which works best.

“Many students study in the library, but students could try studying in the Rec Center’s social lounge, the library in Pawley Hall, study areas in the dorms, at Starbucks or in any quiet area,” she said.

Maitland’s ideal study environment is her bedroom because it’s quiet. She maintains a study space free of distractions.

OU Rec Well’s mission is to enhance the quality of life at Oakland University. Health and Wellness Coordinator Erica Wallace said the event was another step closer to that goal.

She said studying can have a negative impact on physical well-being if students do not pay attention to how their bodies interact with study spaces.

“Finals are a time when students tend to not take care of themselves and instead focus on projects, papers and exams,” she said. “We want to equip them to do it safely.”

Wallace said everybody, not just students, should practice time management and stress management, engage in physical activity and eat a balanced diet.

“Exams make that difficult because many students feel they have to review many hours worth of information for each class,” she said. “This can cause mental and physical stress because of the demands students put on themselves during this time.”

She said comfort and limited distractions are ideal for successful studying. She advised students to be unafraid to visit new places on or off campus to find that perfect spot.

Wallace said her study area in college was in a comfy chair at Starbucks. She was never one to pull all-nighters at the library.

“Most buildings on campus have space for studying, especially if you have a laptop,” Wallace said. “If you study off campus, consider your options. Public libraries or coffee shops may be great options for you if you need a break from your house.”