To date, there is growing evidence claiming that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for one’s health, even among those who are physically active outside work. The researchers found that participants belonging to the high and middle-fidgeting groups were not at any higher risk of mortality even after sitting for seven hours per day.
The news is good for anyone who works at a computer or has to sit down most of the day for other reasons.
A team of researchers from the University of Leeds and University College London (UCL) set out to investigate the relationship between fidgeting and sitting for long periods.
Janet Cade, professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds, asked 12,778 women between 1999 and 2002 questions about their fidgeting habits as well as their lifestyle choices. This is the first study of its kind to reveal the benefits fidgeting may have as a means to combat the negative effects of sitting.
She explains that even those individuals who meet their exercise requirements – let’s say working out at a moderate intensity for 150 minutes per week – yet spend the majority of their remaining waking hours sitting on their keister are still at risk for chronic health issues. The study has some limitations, namely how to measure fidgeting, as the respondents may fidget more or less than they realize.
It’s only human nature that after sitting for extended periods, you might start fidgeting a bit. “The current study…provides important information that though longer time spent sitting may have negative consequences, simple behaviors may have the potential to offset this”, the study authors write in the report.
However, there was an increased risk of moderately among women who consider themselves very occasional fidgeters when sitting for long periods.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about the health dangers of too much sitting.
This summer, a panel of global experts published guidelines in the British Journal of Sports Medicine recommending that people stand, walk around or take breaks for at least two hours during an eight-hour workday and build up to four hours.