We all know we should be moving around more throughout the day in order to stay healthy. However, working in an office can mean you don’t get the chance to get up and have a wander around at regular intervals throughout the day.
When you’ve got deadlines to meet and your boss breathing down your neck, it can mean you’re sat still for a lot longer than you’d like, even if you do manage a quick lunchtime dash to the sandwich place across the street.
If you can’t get regular steps in throughout the day, there could be another way to boost your health while sitting down to work: fidgeting.
That’s right, fidgeting by moving your feet regularly throughout the day could help to keep you healthy. While you still need to get up and move around when you can, tapping your feet and moving your legs when you’re at your desk could be beneficial when it comes to getting blood to flow better.
According to new research published in the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology, fidgeting was found to improve vascular health.
Researchers from the University of Missouri asked participants to tap one foot against the ground for 60 seconds every five minutes over a period of three hours. Their other leg was kept flat against the ground during this time.
The researchers then measured the blood flow in the popliteal artery of each leg. They discovered that the leg that had been fidgeting regularly throughout the three hours had much better blood flow than the one that had been kept still.
Better blood flow and the shear stress this causes on the walls of arteries has been linked to better vascular health, suggesting that regularly moving your feet while working could be beneficial.
This can also help reduce the chances of clotting, especially in people who are at a higher risk of this, such as pregnant women or those who previously had cancer.
So, rather than sitting still all day while you’re at work, make sure you move your feet and legs as much as possible. This won’t distract you from your work – although you might want to avoid tapping your toes too loudly as this could turn your coworkers against you – but will help your blood to keep flowing.
However, it’s important to note that this isn’t to be done instead of walking. It is still important that you get up to have a quick walk – even if it’s just to the kitchen to make a coffee – at least every hour.
Even if you exercise at other points during your day, it is not enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting down for several hours at a time, so make sure you keep moving.