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Diet Do #3: Fit in Fidgeting

December 22, 2009

Does the term couch potato apply to you? Would you much rather sit around than be on the move? Are you constantly on the go, moving from one thing to the next like a chicken without a head? Or are you somewhere in between–you like to be active, but you also enjoy your down time and take full advantage by slowing down when you have the time on weekends or when on vacation?

I most definitely fit into the first category; I have trouble sitting still and am always on a mission, doing something. I do enjoy sitting down to read a book or magazine, or watching a movie, but usually I’m on the go trying to get things done. It’s definitely in my wiring to be like this. In fact, researchers agree that one’s genetic makeup has a lot to do with how much spontaneous, non-exercise physical activity one gets on any given day.

Studies have shown that the people who engage in more non-exercise physical activity (including fidgeting) tend to gain less weight over time than those who are less active. A well publicized study done in 2005 and published in the journal Science also found staggering differences in daily calories burned between lean and obese people. In that particular study, those who were obese sat about 2 hours more per day and fidgeted or moved around in general a lot less than their lean counterparts. The lean subjects also burned about 350 extra calories per day compared with those who were obese.

So my Diet Do #3 is to fit in fidgeting. Today (and everyday!), try to find ways to fit in more non-exercise physical activity. You’ll be surprised that all those small movements you make all day–house cleaning, folding laundry, gardening, walking a few extra blocks, getting out of your chair to walk somewhere, reorganizing a drawer or closet–will add up to calories burned. You may not lose weight (unless you’re dramatically upping your daily movement), but at the very least, you’ll probably have an easier time keeping weight off or not gaining more weight as the clock ticks (this in and of itself is an accomplishment).

Don’t give up on your regular exercise routine; exercise is key for maintaining weight and providing all the other health, physical, and mental benefits it provides. But at the same time, don’t make the mistake of thinking that going to the gym, taking an exercise class, or going for a run or bike ride outside is enough to keep you healthy, strong, and at a healthful body weight; even mundane activities can provide you with another way to burn calories (without even thinking about it) — and who wouldn’t want that?!


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 6:37 am

    I have read somewhere that fidgeters actually burn more calories than their “still” counterparts. So fidgeters have an advantage there..

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