Your grade school teacher told you not to fidget, but University of Leeds professor Janet Cade says fidgeting may be good for you.
Cade and colleagues have published a study which finds that the movements involved in fidgeting may counteract the adverse health impacts of sitting for long periods -- an increased risk of mortality from sitting for long periods was only found in those who consider themselves very occasional fidgeters.
"While further research is needed, the findings raise questions about whether the negative associations with fidgeting, such as rudeness or lack of concentration, should persist if such simple movements are beneficial for our health," Cade said.
The study, published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, builds on growing evidence suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health, even if you are physically active outside work.
The study examined data from the University of Leeds' UK Women's Cohort Study, which is one of the largest cohort studies of diet and health of women in the UK. It found no increased risk of mortality from longer sitting times, compared to more active women, in those who considered themselves as moderately or very fidgety.
Breaks in sitting time have previously been shown to improve markers of good health, such as body mass index and your body's glucose and insulin responses. But until now, no study has ever examined whether fidgeting might modify an association between sitting time and death rates.