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Fidgeting for Heart Health

The admonition to sit still and avoid fidgeting turns out not to be the best advice, at least in terms of your cardiovascular health, according to findings published recently in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

In the study, researchers found that tapping the feet, moving the legs and engaging in other types of fidgeting may lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Sitting for long periods of time reduces blood flow in the legs, which in turn may contribute to heart and vascular problems. Moving the legs while sitting increases blood flow in the legs, and increased blood flow tends to improve overall circulatory health.

The researchers emphasized, however, that fidgeting is no substitute for regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging or swimming. Fidgeting is helpful, though, during extended periods of sitting.

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