Our parents have often asked us not to keep fidgeting because of the common notion we all harbor: fidgeting is a sign of distraction and restlessness. These days, the fidget spinner too has gained a lot of popularity because it helps you fiddle with it, unlike tapping your toes or bouncing your knees, or even moving around your workplace. However bad a habit fidgeting is considered to be, here is some good news for all self-proclaimed fidgeters. It has been found that fidgeting can actually benefit you in terms of your health.
Reduces Mortality Rates
A study conducted by the University of Leeds and University College London have found that fidgeting, when you sit for long hours at one place, can actually discard a few negative impacts that sedentary jobs have upon people. A survey was conducted by the University of Leeds which studied 12,778 women of the age of 35 to 69 years. The study was conducted with respect to health behaviors, chronic diseases, levels of physical activity, and also, fidgeting. It was seen that the women who fidgeted prevented themselves from the negative effects of the sedentary jobs they did. The women who didn’t fidget were seen to have a 43-percent increase in their mortality risk due to all causes.
Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes
It is well-known that if you sit for long hours, either at work or in front of the TV, it is harmful for your health. It will eventually take a toll on your health in the form of certain chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and also, might bring you an early death. A study conducted by the researchers at the Harvard Medical School noted that if you fidget from time to time while you are sitting for 7 hours a day continuously at one place, your condition can be slightly improved. Habitual movements such as standing up to use your phone, stretching from time to time, moving around at your workplace, etc. can moderate the risk of getting affected by chronic diseases that include type 2 diabetes as well.
Improves Heart Health
A sedentary job and a lifestyle can negatively impact our heart as well. Researchers from the University of Missouri had surveyed a group of 11 healthy individuals who were asked to sit in a sedentary situation for 3-hour periods. Among them, those who were fidgeting by keeping one leg stationary and the other shaking from time to time, experienced a significant increase of blood flow in the popliteal artery and less vascular shear stress in the fidgety leg compared to their stationary leg. This proved that fidgeting improved the overall blood flow and the function of the arteries due to the continuous sensory movements going on in the body.
It is always believed that fidgeting decreases our capacity to learn because we are distracted doing something else as well while we learn. However, a 2015 study published in the National Institutes of Health has proved that those children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can actually benefit a lot if they keep fidgeting as well. Fidgeting can help these children improve their memory and their capabilities to learn. The study had been done on a group of children with ADHD, and the ones who were permitted to keep fiddling, be it toe-tapping, hands wandering, or fiddle with certain objects, performed their jobs better than those who were prevented from fidgeting. This might have happened because fidgeting must have been a way to cope up for those who suffer from a condition called hyperactivity.
Burns More Calories
Fidgeting cannot be a substitute to exercising. However, a study conducted by Mayo Clinic have proved that fidgeting can burn an additional 350-calories per day. It has been seen that those individuals who fidget burn more calories than those who do not fidget during their sedentary jobs. The research was done by surveying 10 obese participants and 10 lean participants. The effects of fidgeting was compared between the 10 obese participants who stayed still and the 10 lean participants who kept fidgeting. It was noted that the fidgety people burned up to 350 calories per day because of the non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) behavior.
Encourages “Floating Attention”
Authors Roland Rotz and Sarah D. Wright, in their book Fidget To Focus: Outwit Your Boredom: Sensory Strategies For Living With ADHD have said that fidgeting sharpens the trait called “floating attention”. Floating attention means the ability to focus on what might be going around while you are doing your primary job so that nothing is missed out. Fidgeting helps in fully engaging yourself through the additional sensory movement and stimulates our brain to focus more, which in turn sustains the focus on our primary activity we are doing during that time.