By: Bill Waters - Staff Writer
Published: May 11, 2021

Fidgeting Fitness

Fidgeting Fitness - A recent study published last month suggests Fidgeting Fitness. Can tapping your fingers against your desktop maintain your fitness? The research on fidgeting was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The study examined the role in physical fitness of “incidental” physical activity, which involves any movements that are not formally exercise.

Also called “activities of daily living,” they include walking to the window, bobbing your foot as you sit, pulling weeds in the yard, chopping onions for dinner and similar movements.

What the research found was that, most obviously, none of their volunteers moved much, as is typical of modern Americans and, apparently, Canadians.

Current formal activity guidelines advise each of us to complete at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, with those 30 minutes accumulated in sustained bouts of at least 10 minutes at a time.

Not a single one of the Canadian volunteers met those guidelines. But those who moved the most did have significantly higher cardiorespiratory fitness than those who moved the least. They weren’t exercising.

This study is not the first to find benefits from fidgeting and unplanned movement. But most earlier work looked at weight control. In a fascinating 2008 study, researchers tracked the daily movements of obese women. They found they would burn an additional 300 calories every day by tapping their foot or other things that were not exercise.

“Our findings suggest that if you move even a little, that can help your fitness, even if you don’t meet the formal exercise guidelines,” said Robert Ross, a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University and co-author of the study with K. Ashlee McGuire, a doctoral candidate.


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