It seems that Fidgeters might have an advantage over the general population when it comes to fending off weight gain, thanks to their extra movements all throughout the day.
Fidgeting burns a great deal of calories! Even the most avid gym fanatics who are otherwise sedentary wont burn as many calories as the individuals who tend to have constant and steady movement throughout all of their waking hours. Think about it; even if a person spends an hour in the gym, there are 23 hours left in the day. A slight increase in expenditure over each waking hour easily ends up accumulating over the course of the remaining hours. All of that spontaneous physical activity; the wiggling, shifting, pacing and tapping, can add up to a relatively substantial caloric burn.
Studies have shown that the habit of extra little movements is a common tendency or characteristic of lean people. People who are obese tend to not only lack any regular exercise regimens, but also do significantly less moving as a whole. Lean individuals have notably busier bodies; standing more often, pacing, shifting bodyweight, tapping feet, drumming fingers, gesturing with arms while speaking, and repositioning their bodies, even while seated.
How many calories does fidgeting burn?
That number will vary widely depending on how intensely one does it, what kinds of activities an individual takes part in (a chronic pacer would burn more calories than a habitual foot tapper), size of muscle groups that are doing the fidgeting, duration and intensity of movement, and individual bodily specifics such as baseline fitness level, weight and muscle content. It's entirely feasible that one could burn up to 350 extra calories per day with the extra activity.
Fidgeting for weight loss?
Hypothetically speaking, it’s entirely feasible that a person could adapt this habit to lose weight. If a person had 300 calories burned fidgeting per day, that would be 109,500 extra calories burned in one year. Assuming that the person did not consume any extra calories to cancel out the deficit, that would be a whopping 31.2 pounds lost!
Why do some people do it and not others?
One of the issues with trying to use fidgeting to lose weight is that people seem to be largely this way more by the way of nature, than nurture. That is, some of us seem to be hardwired to have the nervous energy or chemical makeup that makes a person more inclined to exhibit the spontaneous physical activity.
Research has shown that lab rats who fidget have increased sensitivity to certain chemicals in the brain that are linked to the propensity for physical activity and even appetite. Other studies trying to figure out the science behind the still and the restless have suggested that it may be a genetic difference you’re born with; apparently there’s a wiggle gene.
Whatever the science behind it, the majority of people who would be classified as fidgety are not necessarily even conscious of the extra movement that they’re doing.
Fidgeting your way fit; how to become one
If you aren’t naturally someone who can’t sit still for long, there are things that you can do to consciously add more movement into your day. Here are a couple examples of how you can become someone who burns more calories.
• Pace. Whenever possible.
• Stand instead of sitting.
• Force yourself up and out of your chair or away from your desk periodically. Walk. March in place. Shift your weight between your feet. Stretch. It’s good for your brain, your metabolism and your spinal health.
• Never do only one thing at a time. If you’re talking on the phone, walk. If you’re typing at your computer, get a voice-to-text headset and do it marching in place.
• Wiggle your leg, or tap a foot. If you’re sitting, keep at least one limb moving as often as possible (if you can pull this one off you’re looking at passing off as a true blue fidgeter).
• Be a little less efficient at the office; take the long way to walk to the bathroom. Run to the copy machine each time you need a print. Make individual trips to send a fax or drop something in the mail. The time you spend away from your computer and desk will make you focus better, anyway (there’s your justification).
• Steer clear of more than 1 hour of television daily, or one movie a day at the most. Besides being bad for your health, it can feed into depression and cut into physical activity by fastening one’s bum to the couch.
Are you a fidgeter? How do you fidget? Do you think that it has helped you stay lean?