A recent study has found fidgeting to be beneficial to overall health. The study, involving more than 12,000 women participants between the ages of 37 and 78, examined whether fidgeting could counteract the adverse health effects of sitting behind a desk all day.
The research published in September 2015 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded, “Fidgeting may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality associated with excessive sitting time.” The study also discovered that participants who sat for more than seven hours per day had a 30 percent increased risk of death.
You may remember research published in January 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which uncovered an increased risk of disease for those who remain sedentary throughout the workday. The study’s lead author, Dr. David Alter, a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network (UHN), and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, also noted that one hour of exercise might not be enough to counteract the health issues associated with sitting all day.
Both studies advocate that moving around throughout your workday, whether it be a walk around the office every hour or fidgeting at your desk, will significantly improve your overall health and lower your mortality risk. Interestingly, there was no difference in mortality rates between women who sat for seven hours and those who sat for five hours or less as long as fidgeting was involved. Researchers suggested that this may be due to an increase in metabolism as a result of fidgeting.
Will bosses and managers improve their workspaces in light of this new research on the negative health effects of sitting all day? Many companies have already taken steps to change their office environments. Treadmill desks, standing desks, and the cycle desk are all new and improved ways to keep employees moving during an otherwise sedentary workday.
It is certainly easier to fidget at a standing desk, and this could very well keep you healthier and living far longer. In a few companies a pop-up window appears on computer screens that instructs employees to get up and take a break. This is a superb idea, but how many employees actually heed the advice when they have tasks piling up, meetings to attend, and deadlines to meet?
Fidgeting and taking breaks throughout the workday is vital for overall health. So far only the more progressive companies have adapted their workspaces to accommodate employee mobility. It remains to be seen if the corporate world will support these healthy changes to the office environment. For the sake of our health, let’s hope this trend becomes mainstream.
How do you stay healthy at work if you are stuck behind a desk all day?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flare for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.