Jigglers can have their Jaffa Cake and eat it
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was always on the go, often rearranging the furniture, so dad would get home from work to find his favourite chair had been replaced by a sofa, or there was a blank wall where the TV had stood.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.