As more people live sedentary lifestyles — and a growing body of evidence shows that sitting too long can be harmful — it appears that any type of movement can be beneficial for one’s health. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that even fidgeting may reduce some of the negative health effects for women who sit for long periods of time.

Janet Cade, professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds, UK, studied 12,778 British women aged 37 to 78, who provided information regarding their average daily sitting time. The women then scored the amount they fidgeted on a scale from one to 10, with one being “no fidgeting to all” and 10 being “constant fidgeting.” They were then divided into three groups — low, middle and high fidgeters — and monitored on how much they smoked, drank alcohol, and exercised from 1999-2002. Dr. Cade then followed up with the participants 12 years later, in 2014.

She discovered that women who sat for seven or more hours per day were 30 percent more likely to have died from several causes. That’s opposed to those who sat for five or fewer hours — but only for women in the low-fidgeting group. The women that were in the middle- and high-fidgeting groups showed no greater risk of dying when they sat for longer periods of time.

What this report simply suggests is that it’s best to avoid sitting for long periods of time, and that fidgeting appears to be beneficial.

As for children, those who sit too much also might encounter health issues in the future, according to a new study of healthy young girls. The study indicated that after a long period of inactivity, the children developed changes in their blood circulation and arteries; in adults, this would lead to serious cardiovascular problems.

In this study, Ali McManus, an associate professor of pediatric exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, and her colleagues, asked the girls, aged 9 to 12, to remain still. The scientists tested the baseline arterial function in the nine girls, using ultrasound and blood pressure cuffs. Then half of the girls were observed sitting in comfortable beanbag chairs in the lab for three continuous hours, playing on iPads and watching movies.

The other girls also sat for three hours, but at the beginning of each hour they got up and went over to a row of stationary bicycles in the lab and rode for 10 minutes before returning back to sitting on their beanbags. Once the experiment was concluded, the girls who sat for three continual hours displayed a reduction in their vascular function. After a short period, the girl’s arteries returned to normal. However, researchers were still uncertain as to the definitive effects of uninterrupted sitting for many hours.

Given the research, it appears, whether you’re fidgeting at your desk, or not, it is best to get up and move around at least every half hour. A stroll around the workplace, or the classroom, may improve your body both, physically and mentally.

Republished from the American Council on Science and Health. Read the original here.