Jig­glers can have their Jaffa Cake and eat it

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION/YOUR LETTERS - Ev­ery week BARBARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com

DOES it ir­ri­tate you when peo­ple crack their knuck­les, jig­gle their legs up and down, or keep mov­ing around, while you’re try­ing to speak to them? The Cam­bridge English dic­tio­nary de­fines fid­get­ing as mak­ing ‘con­tin­u­ous, small move­ments that an­noy other peo­ple’, but, ap­par­ently it is good for you.

Re­searchers in the US who ex­per­i­mented on rest­less hu­man guinea pigs – though good­ness knows how they man­aged to keep them in a room – proved that keep­ing on the move in­creases blood flow to the lower limbs. No sur­prise there, I sup­pose.

But they were taken aback with the ex­tent to which it could pre­vent a de­cline in ar­te­rial func­tion. Ap­par­ently, when sit­ting for pro­longed pe­ri­ods, we should shift po­si­tions fre­quently, get up and stretch in the mid­dle of a thought, or pace while on a phone call.

My par­ents’ gen­er­a­tion were al­ways on the go, but now at home we don’t even have to get up to an­swer the phone or switch chan­nels on the TV.

Dish­wash­ers and wash­ing ma­chines mean less stand­ing at the sink, and email means we don’t have to stroll to the post­box.

My mother was al­ways on the go, of­ten re­ar­rang­ing the fur­ni­ture, so dad would get home from work to find his favourite chair had been re­placed by a sofa, or there was a blank wall where the TV had stood.

The Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion sug­gests small changes could be made at work, such as get­ting up and talk­ing to peo­ple rather than al­ways re­ly­ing on elec­tronic con­ver­sa­tions.

Even though we are not based in of­fices, it is a good les­son for Mr F and me. He re­cently asked me to for­ward some in­for­ma­tion, but I sud­denly re­alised how mad it was when he shouted from the next room: “It hasn’t ar­rived yet.”

There we were, both sit­ting at our com­put­ers, speak­ing through walls when I could have printed it off and walked to where he was and shown him. But then I’d be chas­tised by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists for us­ing en­ergy, print­ing ink and pa­per and not sav­ing the planet.

Per­haps the best ar­gu­ment for keep­ing on the move is that fid­gets can burn as many as 350 calo­ries a day more than couch pota­toes. By my reck­on­ing, in be­tween the fid­get­ing you could have a cup of tea and two jaffa cakes, and still have saved 250 calo­ries.

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