Fidget your way to fitness, study concludes
mundane body movements burn 350 calories a day.
to the bus stop, fidgeting during a meeting, standing up to stretch, jumping off
the couch to change channels and other seemingly minor physical activity can
make the difference between being lean and obese, researchers reported.
most detailed study ever conducted of mundane bodily movements found that obese
people tend to be much less fidgety than lean people and spend at least two
hours more each day just sitting still. The extra motion by lean people is
enough to burn about 350 extra calories a day, which could add up to 10 to 20
pounds a year, the researchers found.
are these absolutely staggering differences between people who are lean and
people who are obese,’ said James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, who led the
research being published in today’s issue of the journal Science. “The
amount of this low-grade activity is so substantial that it could, in and of
itself, account for obesity quite easily.”
is more importantly, Levine and his colleagues also discovered that people
appear to be with a propensity to be either fidgety or listless, indicating it
will take special measures to convert the naturally sedentary into the restless
– especially in a society geared toward a couch-potato existence.
may say this is a story of doom and gloom – that people with obesity have no
choice. It’s all over. I would argue exactly the opposite, “ Levine said.
“There’s a massive beacon of hope here. But it’s going to take a massive,
top-down approach to change the environment in which we live to get us up and be
researchers agreed, saying the new study, while small, provides powerful new
evidence that a major cause of the obesity epidemic is the pattern of desk jobs,
car pool, suburban sprawl and other environmental and lifestyle factors that
discourage physical activity. And despite generations of parents’
admonishments to the contrary, people should be encouraged to fidget.
out ways to increase physical activity – not necessarily getting people
jogging every day but just building physical activity into a person’s day –
are strategies that have the promise to combat this epidemic of obesity,” said
William Dietz of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
number of Americans who are overweight has risen dramatically in recent years,
with more than two-thirds now overweight or obese, raising the prospect of an
epidemic of heart disease, diabetes and other weight-related ills. The reason
for this is a subject of intense debate, with many experts blaming a combination
of too much junk food and too little exercise.
and others have done earlier studies suggesting a dearth of routine activity may
be part of the problem, but the new study is the most exhaustive to date.
all know people who can’t seem to stand still and others who hardly move,”
said Eric Ravussin of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge,
LA., who wrote a commentary on the study.
is really the first time this has been assessed in this level of detail.”