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Friday, April 12, 2024

SHAWCing tips: Fidget for fitness

I’m sure everyone reading this article has wanted to kill that incessant foot tapper sitting next to them. Although this seemingly obnoxious behavior is distracting, did you ever think that that person was actually working on their fitness? It turns out fidgeting has been proven to have benefits on your health. Although it is not a substitute for the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, it falls under a category of  “incidental” physical activity that is better for you than doing nothing. These type of activities are not formally considered exercise; rather, they are actions used in your daily life, such walking up stairs, chopping up vegetables or tapping your foot, that involve some form of movement.

In fact, a study done at Queen’s University in Ontario found that those individuals who accumulated the most incidental physical activity in a week had higher fitness levels than those with the least. To conduct their research they monitored a group of overweight adults who were healthy but lived sedentary lifestyles. They recorded the subjects’ daily movement with devices attached to their legs. Rarely did the participants move enough to bump their activity level beyond incidental activity. Even though none of the volunteers met the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, they found that those who moved the most had better levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, demonstrating the perks of fidgeting.

So, next time you don’t have time to hit the gym, get up and take a short walk, tap your foot or choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Although these actions don’t seem like they’ll do much to affect your health, they apparently can make a difference.

Speaking of exercise, don’t forget to check out HEP’s “Work It” week from April 30 to May 4 and complete SHAWC’s “Work It” Week Scavenger Hunt. Pick up a flier at the SRRC or print one from our Facebook event at facebook.com/ucdshawc to win prizes and get fit at the same time.

The ASUCD Student Health and Wellness Committee (SHAWC) aims to promote and address important health-related issues on campus. We serve as a liaison between ASUCD and campus health organizations, clubs and resources. If you have SHAWCing suggestions, questions or tips, please e-mail us at shawcucd@gmail.com and “Like” us on our Facebook page!

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