Are you a finger tapper? An under-the-table leg bouncer? It turns out you may be doing your heart a favor. Researchers from the University of Missouri recently discovered that fidgeting may help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The research team recruited a small group of adults and asked them to sit in a room for three hours without getting up. During that time, each participant was instructed to keep one leg completely still but to tap the foot on their opposite leg for sixty seconds at regular intervals.
At the end of the study, researchers analyzed the results and discovered that the foot-tapping helped to increase blood flow—enough to benefit the heart. “While we expected fidgeting to increase blood flow to the lower limbs, we were quite surprised to find this would be sufficient to prevent a decline in arterial function,” said lead author Jaume Padilla, PhD.
Because Americans spend a lot of time sitting, study authors stress the importance of their findings, pointing out that when it comes to improving blood flow for a healthy heart, even small movements are better than no movement at all.