Latest prescription for countering effects of long-term sitting? Fidgeting

Thu, Sep 24, 2015

New research suggests fidgeting – you know, incessant foot tapping and leg shaking – might be beneficial to your health. 


In fact, fidgeting might actually add years to your life, that is, if you’re among the millions of people who routinely sit for prolonged periods of time. 


Prolonged sitting has been shown to boost the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death, even among people who exercise regularly. So for many, research from the United Kingdom Women’s Cohort Study about the potential health benefits of fidgeting may come as a welcome surprise. 


“Any proposals or recommendations that limit, reduce or reverse the negative effects a sedentary lifestyle has on our bodies is definitely worth studying,” said Dr. Lynn Wagner, an integrative medicine physician at BayCare Clinic. “Studies like this at least offer us an opportunity to remind our patients that living an active lifestyle can lead to an improved overall quality of life. Ultimately, getting out of your chair and moving throughout the day would be ideal, but any amount of movement is better than nothing.” 


British researchers studied data from nearly 13,000 women who answered questions about their diets, alcohol use, exercise habits and fidgeting, among other lifestyle habits. Following a 12-year span, the team sought any relationships between the variables. 


“Fidgeting may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality associated with excessive sitting time,” the researchers wrote, adding that more detailed study was necessary to replicate their findings. 


Click here to read the study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.