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Something to Do While Sitting That Can Counteract How Horrible Being Sedentary All Day Is for Your Health

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"Even fidgeting may offer enough of a break to make a difference."

Our increasingly sedentary culture has resulted a slew of studies on how bad sitting is for you and what you can do to help reverse its negative effects.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

While standing for a while or taking frequent, short walks have been suggested, yet another new study suggests that if you must sit, don't sit still. Yes, that means bouncing your knee, wiggling your seat and being all around fidgety.

The study from the University of Leeds and University College London in the U.K. found that the increased risk of mortality associated with prolonged sitting was more prevalent in people who were better at sitting still.

The data from Leeds' U.K. Women's Cohort Study found that women who reported being moderately or very fidgety did not have an increased mortality risk from sitting for longer periods of time. The cohort study involved eating patterns of more than 35,000 women 35 to 69 years old in the U.K. and a followup survey, with over 14,000 responses, included questions on various behaviors, disease, physical activity and fidgeting.

"While further research is needed, the findings raise questions about whether the negative associations with fidgeting, such as rudeness or lack of concentration, should persist if such simple movements are beneficial for our health," study co-author Janet Cade, a professor in the university's school of food science and nutrition, said in a statement.

This conclusion, according to the researchers, is the first time a study has made an association between fidgeting, sitting duration and death rates.

"Our results support the suggestion that it's best to avoid sitting still for long periods of time, and even fidgeting may offer enough of a break to make a difference," the study's other lead author, Dr. Gareth Hagger-Johnson with the University College London. "Our results support the suggestion that it's best to avoid sitting still for long periods of time, and even fidgeting may offer enough of a break to make a difference."

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, prolonged sitting is associated with an increased risk for "heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death," even if you incorporate exercise as part of your daily routine.

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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