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In a September 2015 study out of the United Kingdom, researchers found that women who bounce a knee, wiggle a leg or otherwise stay in motion while parked in front of a computer may counteract some of the ills of too much sitting. Those well-documented ills include a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death, even for those who exercise regularly outside of work.
And an occasional fidget isn’t enough. In the study, which focused on 14,000 British women over 12 years, moderate to very fidgety study subjects were the ones who benefited from their habits.
Despite evidence that there is increased risk of death associated with sitting too much, researchers found no increased risk of dying in women who liked to fidget a lot. The benefits of fidgeting held up even when compared to being more active in general.
Study co-lead author Janet Cade, from the University of Leeds, suggested in a release that her findings might be reason enough to ditch the negative associations we have with fidgeting, including the notion that people who fidget are rude or unable to concentrate.
The study comes at a time when many researchers and civilians alike are looking for ways to combat unhealthy sedentary lifestyles in a society that requires many of us to sit for long hours as part of our jobs. So far, proposed solutions include stand-up desks, walking meetings and frequent breaks.
Be mindful of all that sitting
Another British study out in September 2015 suggests that, when it comes to convincing people to sit less, relying on psychological cues to move is more successful than focusing on getting more exercise in general.
In this study, researchers found that asking people to focus on their sitting habits—via tracking hours, keeping a journal and setting up reminders to get up from their desks, for instance—helped them reduce their time spent sitting. But adding a half hour to your run or your yoga session (though healthy on its own) won't curb the risks caused by hours of uninterrupted sitting.
Now that’s handy information, especially for those of us who aren’t already fidgeting our way to better health.
Learn more ways to fight the ills of sitting.