Can’t sit still? You’re not alone. And, chances are, you’re healthier because of it! The big reason that fidgeting is associated with good health is that it keeps your blood flowing and prevents it from pooling.
In her New York Times article, “Why Fidgeting Is Good Medicine,” Gretchen Reynold’s reported on a study by and a team at the University of Missouri, which was published by The American Physiological Society Journal. The researcher team concluded that “Prolonged sitting-induced leg endothelial dysfunction is prevented by fidgeting.”
In their study, college students had to sit for 3 hours with one leg immobile and the other subjected to intermittent fidgeting. They say, “Fidgeting produced a pronounced increase in popliteal artery blood flow.” Padilla admitted, “we were surprised by the magnitude of the difference. The muscular contractions associated with fidgeting are quite small, but they are sufficient to combat some of the unhealthy consequences of sitting. The results of one sedentary session are probably not permanent, he said, but frequently sitting without moving is likely to result in permanent changes.”
The moral of the this story seems to be this: if a standing desk or sit-to-stand desk isn’t in your future (because of cost, space, availability, comfort or whatever), you can still do yourself a favor by moving your legs around, stretching, fidgeting, or stashing an elliptical under your desk as shown below!