February 16, 2012 — Dieter Breithecker, head of the Federal Institute on the Development of Posture and Movement in Germany, will give a lecture hosted by the University of Virginia School of Architecture's Center for Design and Health on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.
Breithecker is a health and kinetics scientist whose work on the subject of ergonomics for education and human work stations has been widely published. He has presented his research across Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and the Arabian Peninsula.
His lecture, "Bodies in Motion – Brains in Motion: Better Learning in an Enriched Physical Environment," will discuss ways in which adequate movement promotes both physical development and academic progress.
The lecture will present the latest research on ergonomic requirements for holistic learning and human development. Topics of discussion will include defining the basic requirements for schooling, health and learning; the impact of static sitting on human development and learning; the relationship between movement and mental alertness; guidelines for ergo-dynamic seating and holistic learning; and the classroom of the future.
A motion specialist, Breithecker spent four years studying students who switched from rigid chairs to ergonomic ones. He said the results were astounding. "We really found out that the attentiveness of the kids was better, that they were more awakened, so they could absorb the academics better."
He also recommends that students stand more, about 30 percent of the time, to keep their brains even more active.
Breithecker is a member of Ergonomics for Children and Educational Environments.
The Center for Design and Health pursues cross-disciplinary research to aid the design and planning of effective environments for human health and well-being. Its work focuses on a variety of health issues, including the design and planning of patient-centered medical facilities, housing, neighborhoods, communities, cities and regions.