Sitting on our butts all day isn't doing us any favors. A seated existence has been tied to a slower metabolism, cholesterol and weight gain, and higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Luckily, even the tiniest movements will make a difference: sedentary people who fidget live longer than those who don’t, according to the UK Women’s Cohort Study.
The study analyzed data from 12,788 British women, who answered survey questions about how long they sat down each day, how much they fidgeted, their drinking and smoking habits, and their diets. Ten to twelve years later, researchers followed up to find out how these women were doing.
The results: A sedentary lifestyle was associated with a higher risk of mortality—except in fidgety women. Respondents who sat all day but reported moderate to high levels of fidgeting seemed impervious to the risk affecting their non-fidgeting peers.
Though our culture has very little tolerance for fidgeting, co-lead author Janet Cade, of Leeds University, thinks that may change. In a press release on the study, she said, “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.”
With Netflix, office jobs, and social media, it’s easier than ever to forget to stand up. Fortunately, free apps like TimeOut make it easy to remember. TimeOut blacks out the user’s screen for 15 seconds every 10 minutes, and for 10 minutes once an hour, forcing short breaks.
You’ve made it to the end of the article. Time to stand up!