A plethora of studies warns us about the negative health outcomes long, sedentary hours may bring including high risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, liver disease, and even early death. But a British study suggests that those of us who have the habit of fidgeting while we work may offset these negative effects.
Researchers, however, noted that fidgeting is not a solution to replace physical exercise, but it is a solution especially to those of us who are too tired or lazy to workout.
During their research, the British team sifted through data on 12,000 women who took part in a national survey on dietary habits, physical activity, smoking, substance abuse, diseases, and body weight. The team also monitored how often these women got ill, how much of the time they spent sitting, and their mortality rate.
The participants were monitored 12 years. At the end of that period, researchers observed a spike in mortality rates in women who reported sitting longer. Women who said that they spent more than 7 hours per day sitting the mortality rate was 43 percent higher than in women who had less sedentary occupations. After scientists adjusted the findings for other risk factors such as age, smoking and alcohol use the rate was still high – 30 percent.
Surprisingly, women who reported high and medium levels of fidgeting at their offices didn’t display the high risk of premature death the non-fidgety group had. This happened even in participants who spent more than 7 hours sitting.
“When sitting for prolonged periods, any movement might be good,”
said lead author of the study Janet Cade.
Jade also explained that fidgeting may be a life-saver in people that cannot engage in physical activities at their work place due to work commitments. Researchers believe that the habit has a beneficial effect on metabolism leading to healthier people despite high risk of sedentarism.
Cade argued that prolonged sitting negatively impacts metabolism by increasing blood sugar levels and decreasing energy expenditures. This is why sitting too much was often linked with high risk of diabetes by a plethora of studies.
On the other hand, the team admitted that their newly found link although significant was not a cause-and-effect association between fidgeting and healthy improvements in sedentary people. Moreover, the study may have some limitations because it relied on self-reports which can be often subjective. Fidgeters usually cannot accurately report how much they fidget, one of the researchers said.
Image Source: Pixabay
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