Do you fidget? Remember when you were a kid and adults told you to “Sit still! Stop fidgeting?” Well I’m here to tell you TO fidget instead!
Studies indicate that the resulting health issues of prolonged sitting can be mitigated by fidgeting. Sitting for long periods reduces blood flow and moving the leg(s)/feet/hands/etc. every so often (or fidgeting) gets that blood circulating.
Ideally, you would get up at least once an hour to take a brief walk, which not only alleviates stiffness of the legs, butt, back and neck but also improves mental clarity. However, often we don’t or can’t because of meetings, car rides or the like. So, get your fidget on!
I’m not talking about that controversial “fidget spinner,” (although I do find that soothing and entertaining). I mean the tricks that people do with them are mesmerizing – check out this video with over 93 million (yes MILLION) views! There is a lot of debate over whether the fidget spinner is a tool for those with attention disorders or anxiety, or toy that leads to distraction. But I digress!
The NY Times, Prevention, Men’s Health, Real Simple and many others cite the health benefits of fidgeting and incidental physical fitness was found to be positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness.
If tapping your pencil or foot isn’t your thing, consider incorporating some desk-side stretches. Heck get those around you to take a desk stretch break with you! When I ran my 12-week MOJO Makers™ Reset Program at Sarah Laird and Good Company, during our “Move” week they were joyously committed to multiple team stretches per day. Look at those smiles!
So, step away from the computer and try some of these fan favorites. Do each pose 1-3 times, holding for 15-30 seconds:
- Back and chest reviver stretch – sit or stand and clasp your hands behind your head with your elbows outstretched to the side. Keep your shoulders relaxed and gently push your head into your hands. You will feel a nice stretch through your upper back and chest. Adjust your hands until it feels best for you.
- Chest and lung opener – Sit up straight and place your hands flat on your chair right behind you, with the heels of your hands toward your butt. Relax your shoulders and pull your shoulder blades onto your back. Lean slightly back until you feel a gentle stretch across your chest.
- This can also be done standing, with your hands on a table or desk.
- Chair squats – As they say in the physical therapy world, “strong glutes, strong body.” The glutes stabilize the pelvis and hips and support the back. Keep them strong and take the pressure off your lower back. Literally just standing up and down a few times S-L-O-W-L-Y will help. Go ahead, stand up and down 3 times right now.
- If you have more time, instead of sitting fully, hover over the chair for a count of 2 and stand up again. Repeat 10 times.
- Be sure to keep your knees aligned over your feet and not in front of them. Squats literally improved the motion in my knee joint while recovering from surgery.
- The phone one-footer – Know how older people are often off balance, and can easily fall and break a bone? Let’s avoid that! Working on your balance may seem trite, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself as you age. While on the phone, stand up and stand on one foot for 10-20 seconds. Repeat on the other foot.
- Compete with your officemates or family to see who can hold it the longest! When you get really good, practice holding it longer, or moving your foot up to rest on your calve or thigh (just not on the knee).
- Phone pacing is good too!
Do any or all of these just once and note how you feel. You will likely want to do it over and over again throughout the day
Regardless what you do, just move. Whether while at home, at work or in the car. Fidget! Tap those toes, bend and straighten those legs, drum those fingers. Just be mindful not to annoy those close to you.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
Come fidget with us!
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