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Sitting down? Fidgeting might be good for you

A new study shows that fidgeting may be

A new study shows that fidgeting may be a small part of counteracting the problems caused by sitting at your desk all day. Credit: Fotolia

Good news, workplace fidgeters. A new study suggests that some healthy fidgeting throughout the day might be the key to surviving a sedentary life. Just don't go canceling your gym membership -- even if the study's findings are true, fidgeting is just one small part of a healthy lifestyle. Like, really small.

You've probably heard that sitting down all day is slowly killing you. And according to some research, standing all day is bad for you, too. You just can't win.

Some studies have suggested that regular, brief fitness intervals are the key to making sedentary life less sickening. But there's no reason to be a lazy lump when you're sitting down.

The latest pro-fidgeting data, reported last week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, comes from the long-term study of 14,000 women ages 35 to 69, all living in Britain. These women were surveyed on their eating habits, then responded to a follow-up survey asking about health behaviors, chronic disease, physical activity levels and fidgeting. Surprisingly, the increased mortality was only seen in the group that reported the lowest level of fidgeting.

A 2011 study found that so-called "incidental activity" could improve overall fitness, and an earlier study showed that lean women were more likely to fidget than those who were overweight.

And even if it doesn't help your physical health, fidgeting might be good for your mental well-being: Many researchers believe that these squirms are humanity's way of dealing with a transition from super-active lifestyles -- think hunting and gathering -- to modernity's relative laziness. Without drumming our fingers and tapping our toes, many of us would have more nervous energy than we could handle.