Scientists have discovered that any movement while seated, no matter how slight, will counteract the negative health effects of being sedentary, which means any sort of fidgeting at your desk is good for you. A welcome discovery for those of us who are desk bound throughout the day.
A 2016 experiment studied a group of healthy, young volunteers who were asked to sit for three hours, with one foot flat on the ground, while the other jiggled or tapped every few minutes. At the end of the three hours, blood flow to each leg was measured by ultrasound. Researchers found that the stationary leg had lower blood flow, while the jiggling leg had increased blood flow.
Another study in 2017 found that if office workers used a specialised, under-desk bicycle like device to leisurely pedal while being seated, they burned 20 per cent more calories over the course of the work day than if they only sat.
The findings suggest that fidgeting seems to lessen the bothersome side effects of being sedentary on our health. When we sit unmoving for ours, blood flow through major arteries in the legs slows, which can have negatives effects on the vessels and potentially contribute to arterial stiffening and increased blood pressure over time. So, if you’re stuck at a desk or in an airplane chair, wiggle you toes, tap your feet or fidget ‘til your hearts content, and rest assured with the knowledge that it’s doing your body good.
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