Fidgeting Is Fine, Walking Is Better
By Clayton Summerstone
Research continues to prove that sitting for long periods of time reduces blood flow to the legs, which can have serious ramifications for cardiovascular health. However, researchers have now discovered that fidgeting while seated actually helps safeguard the arteries from harm.
The science here is simple, really. The friction of the flowing blood on the artery wall is the action that is beneficial to vascular health. This particular study observed 11 healthy young men and women before and after three hours of sitting. The participants were instructed to fidget one leg intermittently — tapping one foot for one minute, followed by four minutes of rest — while keeping the other leg stationary.
The study’s researchers determined that blood flow in the fidgeting leg increased, while the stationary leg showed a decline in blood flow.
Take it a “Step” Further
While it’s nice to know that fidgeting can actually benefit health, there are plenty of things we can do throughout the day to improve our blood circulation.
For instance, it’s no secret that working at a standing desk can be a good way to avoid the reduced blood flow to the legs that results from sitting. But nothing beats a good walk. Whether that’s walking to refill your water bottle, or taking a brisk stroll on your lunch break, the more we can break free from our stationary routines, the better.
Because it’s not just physical health that benefits from greater mobility. Mental acuity improves, too, as will your overall performance at your studies or work the more active you become throughout the day.
Here are some exercises you can do right at your desk:
- Get out of your chair every once in a while to try some leg squats. Do five sets for 30 seconds.
- Wall push-ups: Find a flat wall, and push off the surface. Do five sets for 30 seconds.
- Calf raises are simple and easy. All you need to do is stand up and rest your hands on the end of your desk. Then just raise your heels until you’re balancing your body weight on the balls of your feet. Hold that pose, and then lower yourself back to a normal stance. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
We are all busy throughout the day, and we have all wished there were more hours in a day. But until that day comes (it won’t), every fidgety movement we make, and every small step we take, will ultimately contribute to better blood flow and improved health.
- What are some other exercises that you can do at your desk?
- What are the pros and cons of using a standing desk?