Tap Your Toes, Help Your Heart
According to a recent study, it takes just a small amount of leg movement to keep blood flowing when sitting for long periods. Researchers at the University of Missouri conducted the study, in which they compared vascular leg function in healthy men and women before and after 3 hours of sitting.
While sitting, study participants kept one leg still, and the other leg, they tapped intermittently—moving it for 1 minute then resting it for 4 minutes. Researchers measured blood flow in an artery in the lower leg and found that blood flow increased in the fidgeting leg and decreased in the stationary leg. Increased blood flow improves vascular health.
Jaume Padilla, Ph.D., lead author of the study, says, "You should attempt to break up sitting time as much as possible by standing or walking. But if you're stuck in a situation in which walking just isn't an option, fidgeting can be a good alternative." Researchers caution that fidgeting is helpful, but isn't a substitute for exercise.
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