Yes, you read that headline correctly. Turns out it's good for your health to have ants in your pants. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that constant fidgeting may actually lower the health risks of living an increasingly sedentary life. Studies highlighting the detrimental impact of sitting for hours on end each day made headlines recently, underscoring the perhaps understood yet tacitly accepted dangers of our increased time spent seated working at a computer.
The study out of University of Leeds and University College London surveyed nearly 13,000 women aged 35-69, taking into account health behaviors, chronic disease, physical activity levels, and fidgeting. A correlation was found between fidgeting habits, rated on a scale of 1-10, and all-cause mortality rates. Essentially, women with low fidgeting tendencies who sit for seven or more hours a day saw a 43% jump in their risk of all-cause mortality when compared to women who sat for five or fewer hours each day. Importantly, women whose fidgeting fell into the middle or high tendency categories had no greater risk of dying, even if their hours spent seated increased. It seems then that fidgeting works to erase the increase in mortality incurred by more time spent sitting.
The takeaway? Even if you're not a natural toe tapper, take these findings to heart and make a point to stay active throughout the day. It can be as simple as bopping your legs along to a song you're listening to in your headphones.
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