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Life today has rapidly evolved from what it once was only a couple of short decades ago. Our modern world with its fast pace of change and modern technologies, presents its own set of unique challenges.

Working professionals and students are busier than ever and life can often seem somewhat hectic. In terms of student life, some of the biggest challenges they increasingly face today include heightened stress levels, lack of sleep, and also depression, all of which is often a result of students pushing themselves to the limit both physically and mentally in their efforts to come out on top.

One factor that can help students combat the often negative side effects of such a high pressure environment is an active lifestyle. When students embrace health and wellness, a noticeable improvement can be seen in their overall development.

How we live gets directly impacted by the design of our physical environment. Almost everyone would be familiar with what design is, but only a few are aware of what active design means. Active design is a dynamic approach to the design environment, helping students to make healthy choices. With the help of active design, pupils are able to better cope with stress and take responsibility for their overall health and wellness in turn developing lifelong healthy habits.

When students are able to develop their mind and body they create healthy habits such as exercise and good nutrition, which result in lifelong health and wellness benefits. Bringing this change about becomes easier with active designs. The concept works by exploring and crafting spaces that can promote a vigorous lifestyle, which is further balanced by places for relaxation and reflection. The end result is the creation of a an environment that encourages movement with the intent to burn more energy.

A popular example of active design is campus recreation areas; where physical activity is promoted through the use of play equipment and items such as stairs as highlighted in vibrant colours to encourage use. The benefits of active design are not limited to recreation areas only. Benefits have also been observed in terms of improvements in real-time critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving. When children and adolescents live an active lifestyle, it helps them flourish in all aspects of live both physically and mentally.

EFI Furniture embraces active design within our ‘move to learn’ range of student tables and chairs which allows movement for children while they are seated. A good example is our Flower Stool, where children can self-regulate by moving as much as they need to so that they can maintain their attention. Movement facilitates a nice, upright sitting posture which not only stimulates attention but also maximises learning capacity. Another great example of ‘move to learn’ active design is our De Bonno table which features a circular ‘Lazy Susan’ style top which can be moved in both a clockwise and anti-clockwise motion. The top itself is laminated with a whiteboard surface so that students can draw directly onto the table for enhanced learning as well as a De Bonno colour wheel, representing the various “hats” of thinking.

Active design is not only applicable to primary and secondary environments, it can also be applied to tertiary environments too. When universities opt for active design, they are able to promote the experience of being energetic through the exploration of the built environment and social interaction.

Creating lifelong health and wellness habits starts with encouraging healthy choices for our children and continuing this encouragement through adolescent life. Parents and teachers must make a point to include active design into a child’s life from an early age so that they can support them in building a foundation for a healthy future.