A new study has shown that fidgeting is a good weapon to use in the fight against prolonged sitting.
Sitting in a chair for long periods of time has been proven to make people vulnerable to experiencing everything from obesity, to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high blood sugar levels, even certain types of cancer.
But a team of researchers from Great Britain is saying that fidgeting may help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. However, the experts also say that fidgeting alone will not do the trick. You main source of physical exercise should still be a sports club or the gym.
A lot of researchers point out that the problem is not just a sedentary professional life, but a sedentary personal life as well. Most people nowadays work at an office for eight (8) or nine (9) hours and spend less than 20 minutes out of their chairs. They then get into their car, sit down and drive home, only to change clothes and sit down in front of their own computer.
This lifestyle puts their health in serious danger. A common piece of advice that they receive is to sit on their feet for about two (2) hours while they talk on the phone or work on the computer. But this is sometimes easier said than done. If people have a lot of work to do on the computer, once they sit up they’ll realize that the monitor is anywhere but at eye level. And readjusting it often proves to be tricky in rooms with big windows and sunlight can easily make it impossible to see anything.
So fidgeting may be an alternative worth considering. While it’s not technically a physical exercise, fidgeting while writing emails, reports, articles, ads, stories, analysis, or whatever else you have to write, has been proven to protect office workers against experiencing health complications or an early death.
Dubbed “active sitting”, it may include repeatedly clicking pens, wiggling in your chair, or jiggling your feet around.
For their study, the British research team examined the habits of 14.000 women, all with the age somewhere between 35 and 69, all living in the UK. First, the researchers asked them to fill out a questionnaire about their eating habits, then anther one about their health habits, levels of physical activity, chronic disease, and fidgeting.
What the researchers really wanted to do was to assess whether or not a sedentary lifestyles can increase a person’s chances of dying before their time, once all other factors have been accounted for.
The results showed that the only group where mortality rates went up was the one where subjects were associated with the lowest levels of fidgeting.
Janet Cade, field expert with the University of Leeds and co-lead author of the study, offered a statement informing that “the findings raise questions about whether the negative associations with fidgeting, such as rudeness or lack of concentration, should persist if such simple movements are beneficial for our health”.
The study was published earlier this week, on September 23, 2014, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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