A recent study claims that fidgeting might be in fact a healthy practice, especially if you are working in closed spaces.
Fidgeting is the act of moving parts of your body restlessly. It is know to be the result of boredom, nervousness, or agitation. Generally it is an unconscious act and it may be genetic.
The most common form of fidgeting is foot tapping, “air drumming”, shifting left and right in the office chair. All we know for a fact is that the vast majority of people are fidgeting during the day.
A new British study explored the issue. The research involve nearly 15,000 British middle age women. Fidgeting usually appears in people who spend hours sitting in one place. Previous studies have found that the practice has negative impacts over people’s health.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the women who did not fidget as often while sitting had an increased risk of premature death, compared to the women who were more fidgety and did not sit as much. The research also found that the women who were too fidgety and did a lot of sitting had almost the same risk of premature death as the women who were more active.
The scientists think that the only possible explanation for their findings is that a lot of energy was burned from fidgeting, but they could not prove it. Janet Cade, co-lead author and professor at the School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, said that further research is needed in order to find out whether fidgeting can actually burn enough calories to improve the health of people who are doing a lot of sitting.
Her colleague, Garath Hagger-Johnson, professor at the University College in London, believes that the findings are fascinating. He declared for a press release that the study not only suggests that it is a great idea to avoid doing a lot of sitting for long intervals of time, but also that small fast movements such as fidgeting could just be enough to make a difference.
Cade and Hagger-Johnson noted that people spend most of their time sitting down, even if they are persons who practice sports or exercise moderately. Surprisingly, fidgeting helps, and the two authors believe that it may be a mechanism that stimulates movements in order to remind us that we are sitting in a place for too long.
Previous studies have shown that our general health is significantly improved when we are taking small breaks from sitting. However, this is the first study that proves fidgeting can bring benefits while we are sitting, said the researchers.
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