Are you a fidgeter? Do you constantly bounce your leg up and down or tap your fingers on your desk. If so, you’ve probably been told by teachers and friends to stop. As it turns out, that advice could have harmed your health.
Unfortunately, a number of studies show that time spent sitting is associated with a decline in lifespan. Obviously one way to fix this problem is to simply sit less. Another study, though, found that quick taking 2 minute breaks every hour removed the harmful effects of sitting. A new study, however, suggests that simply fidgeting can also reduce the harmful effects of sitting.
The study questioned 12,788 women on their overall sitting time and frequency of fidgeting and followed each for 12 years. Participants were then categorized into low, medium or high fidgeting groups. The researchers found that sitting 7 hours or more a day was associated with a 30% increased risk of mortality than sitting less than 5 hours a day, but only among those in the low fidgeting group. Among the medium and high fidgeting groups, there was no association between time spent sitting and mortality. While more research needs to be done, fidgeters appear to live longer.
Don’t listen to the fidgeting haters. Moving, no matter if you are standing or sitting is good for you. You still should reduce the amount of time you spend sitting, but while you’re sitting don’t be afraid to fidget around.
Dunstan, David W., et al. “Breaking up prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glucose and insulin responses.” Diabetes care 35.5 (2012): 976-983.
Hagger-Johnson, G., et al. “Sitting time, fidgeting and all-cause mortality in the UK Women’s Cohort Study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Johannsen, Darcy L., and Eric Ravussin. “Spontaneous physical activity: relationship between fidgeting and body weight control.” Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity 15.5 (2008): 409-415.
Patel, Alpa V., et al. “Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults.” American journal of epidemiology 172.4 (2010): 419-429.