New research suggests that regular ‘leg fidgeting’ could help combat cardiovascular disease caused by excessive sitting while working from home.
Experts at the University of Gloucestershire found that leg fidgeting could improve the cognitive function of adults who find themselves sitting for extended periods of time and potentially damaging their health.
Two years on from the first Covid lockdown, experts at the university have found that home and office workers are spending increased amounts of time sitting, threatening a rise in cognitive and cardiovascular health problems.
As well as sitting longer for work, travel and TV viewing, growing UK adult inactivity levels and Western diets high in fat and refined sugar are negatively impacting cognitive function and blood pressure. However, the researchers found that many of these health challenges can be moderated by regular activity in the form of ‘fidgeting’ in the form of seated calf-muscle raises.
Dr Simon Fryer, senior lecturer in sport & exercise physiology at University of Gloucestershire, said:
“The aim of our study was to see if regular leg fidgeting can offset the harm caused by prolonged sitting after eating a typical Western meal. In particular, we wanted to find out whether fidgeting can improve blood flow to the brain and enhance cognition.
“Our ongoing studies in this area show that uninterrupted sitting, even for an hour, can cause cardiovascular dysfunction, particularly in the legs, something which can be prevented by regularly breaking up sitting using simple aerobic activities such as fidgeting, walking or light exercise.”
Dr Fryer presented his new findings at a TEDx event in Cheltenham on 13 May.