Good news, fidgeters, leg shakers and foot tappers: Your inability to sit still may help you live longer.
New research suggests that fidgeting may stave off the dangers of sitting, which reports have tied to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even death.
A study of more than 12,000 UK women over 12 years found that the health of those who self-identified as occasional to constant fidgeters was not impaired by sitting for longer periods of time, and in some instances, the risk of death even decreased.
Meanwhile, those who rarely or never fidgeted had a 30% higher risk of death when sitting for seven hours or more per day, regardless of exercise, according to the study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
“Fidgeting appeared to remove the association between longer sitting times and subsequent mortality,” the study said.
Office workers have been turning to measures, such as the standing desk or taking regular walks, to counteract the negative effects of sitting all day. But the new study suggests that more intricate body movements, like fidgeting, can also help, although it does not delve into the reasons why.
For those of us who have chalked our jittery behavior up to nervousness, restlessness and impatience, the study is a welcome opportunity to rebrand our bad habits. The next time I catch myself twirling a pen in my hand, I’ll remind myself: It’s good for my health.