Fidgeting or moving legs while in a sitting posture is helpful to heart in a long way, found researchers from the University of Missouri (USA).
“Whether it’s binge watching our favourite TV show or working at a computer… a small amount of leg fidgeting could prevent a decline in leg vascular function caused by prolonged sitting,” said lead author Jaume Padilla.
Fidgeting increases blood flow to the lower limbs and the researchers found it be sufficient to prevent a decline in arterial function.
In their study, the researchers compared the leg vascular function of 11 healthy young men and women before and after three hours of sitting. The the participants were asked to fidget one leg intermittently, tapping one foot for one minute and then resting it for four minutes, while the other leg remained still throughout.
On average, the participants moved their feet 250 times per minute and their blood flow of the popliteal, an artery in the lower leg, was measured and found that it had a significant increase in blood flow compared to the stationary leg that experienced a reduction in blood flow.
Research recommend not one but both legs to be used in fidgeting exercise to get maximum benefits now. “You should attempt to break up sitting time as much as possible by standing or walking,” Padilla said. “But if you’re stuck in a situation in which walking just isn’t an option, fidgeting can be a good alternative. Any movement is better than no movement.”
The study was published in American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.