We've all been there: a neighboring coworker constantly shaking his leg, making you lose your focus and wonder how great it would feel to slap his knee. But according to new research, you might want to chill out and start shaking too.

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that frequent fidgeting (for example, squirming around in your chair or drumming your fingers) may offset the negative health effects of prolonged sitting, such as diabetes and heart disease. Fidgeters were not only found to be healthier than non-fidgeters, but they also had a similar mortality risk to people who are very active.

The researchers collected self-reported data from 12,778 women between the ages of 27 and 78 about how long they sit daily, how much they fidget and other lifestyle factors such as physical activity, diet, alcohol intake and smoking habits. The participants were tracked for an average of about 12 years.

This is the first study to hint that fidgeting while deskbound can be as good for you as taking breaks that involve more movement, such as lunchtime walks, which have been previously associated with improved body mass index and glucose and insulin levels.

Studies have shown time and again that being sedentary for long periods is bad for your body, leading to an increased risk of chronic diseases. Even those who exercise regularly on evenings, weekends and mornings before work can’t catch a break. Regardless of your fitness routine, when you sit in your chair 9-to-5 you’re at risk. This new discovery might just be the antidote to all the inactivity most of us succumb to during work hours.

While the study authors have stated more research is needed, this is definitely something to consider if you find yourself glued to the chair all day. 



  1. American Journal of Preventive Medicine
  2. ScienceDaily