New study reveals fidgeting at work may keep you fit

Office workers, fidgeting may be one way to get fit. A study out in late June found that frequent trips to the water cooler and photocopier can contribute more to your health than you might think.

Researchers in Canada discovered that accumulative effects of short bursts of activity, from climbing a set of stairs to walking around the office, bolster overall cardiovascular fitness.

In the study, a team from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, recruited a group of healthy but sedentary and overweight adults, equipping them with accelerometers to measure their movements for up to a week. The researchers evaluated fitness levels based on each person's VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during exercise.

Intensity was key, with a cumulative 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity offering "significant" long-term health benefits, stated the researchers.

"It's encouraging to know that if we just increase our incidental activity slightly - a little bit more work around the house, or walking down the hall to speak with a coworker as opposed to sending an email - we can really benefit our health in the long-term," said Ashlee McGuire, the study's lead researcher in a statement. "Best of all, these activities don't take up a lot of time, they're not difficult to do, and you don't have to go to a gym."

This study is not the first to find benefits from fidgeting. A study in 2008 found that leaner people tended to fidget more, including standing up and moving around, than heavier people, burning around an additional 300 calories a day.

These findings were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Access the abstract here.

Or for more information: http://www.queensu.ca/news/articles/fidgeting-your-way-fitness

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