Turns out fidgeting is good for your health

New research shows that something as simple as tapping you foot while sitting could prevent cardiovascular disease

Turns out fidgeting is good for your health

Picture by: Michael Conroy / AP/Press Association Images

Researchers from the University of Missouri have found that fidgeting while sitting stimulates blood supply which stops the build-up of fatty plaques.

Though fidgeting has long been deemed a bad habit, this new study is challenging that notion.

Researchers from the University of Missouri have found that fidgeting while sitting can actually boost a your cardiovascular health. It can protect arteries in the legs from losing blood flow and potentially prevent arterial disease.

The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology, was led by Jaume Padilla, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. 

"Many of us sit for hours at a time, whether it's binge watching our favorite TV show or working at a computer.

"We wanted to know whether a small amount of leg fidgeting could prevent a decline in leg vascular function caused by prolonged sitting.

"While we expected fidgeting to increase blood flow to the lower limbs, we were quite surprised to find this would be sufficient to prevent a decline in arterial function.

Padilla and his team compared leg vascular function in 11 healthy women and men before and after three hours of sitting.

While participants were sitting, they were asked to fidget one of their legs intermittently by tapping one foot for one minute and then resting it for four minutes, while the other leg remained still throughout the experiment. On average, the participants moved their feet 250 times per minute

The researchers then measured the blood flow of an artery in the lower leg and found that the fidgeting leg had a significant increase in blood flow, as expected, while the stationary leg experienced a reduction in blood flow.

“You should attempt to break up sitting time as much as possible by standing or walking,” Padilla said.

“But if you’re stuck in a situation in which walking just isn’t an option, fidgeting can be a good alternative. Any movement is better than no movement.”