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Fidget Your Way Through the Workday for Better Health

By HERWriter
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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

I admittedly cannot sit still and spend a great deal of time fidgeting. When I was younger, I used to get in trouble for not sitting in my desk. Thankfully, I do not have a very sedentary job, but for those of you who do and want to get a little extra cardiovascular activity in throughout the day, start tapping those toes and swiveling that desk chair. A new study now shows that fidgeting at your desk could actually contribute more to your cardiorespiratory fitness than previously thought.

According to a study featured on Science Daily, researchers have found that both the duration and intensity of incidental physical activities also known as IPA are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. The study was conducted at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. It was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

"It's encouraging to know that if we just increase our incidental activity slightly--a little bit more work around the house, or walking down the hall to speak with a co-worker as opposed to sending an email--we can really benefit our health in the long-term," said Ashlee McGuire, the study's lead researcher and a graduate student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. "Best of all, these activities don't take up a lot of time, they're not difficult to do, and you don’t have to go to a gym.”

From a professional standpoint, I think you still need the gym or some form of intentional exercise. My philosophy is to implement both into your daily or weekly routine. I also am a proponent of workplace wellness programs to help fight off obesity due to the many occupational hazards including obesity as a result of being in a sedentary job.

Studies show that exercise programs in the workplace have been proven to increase productivity and lower absenteeism. For example, according to statistics posted on PreventDisease.com, "Johnson and Johnson reduced their absenteeism rate by 15 percent within two years of introducing their wellness program. They also cut their hospital costs by 34 percent after just three years. This total approach to fitness could also result in making your employees more effective at their jobs, translating into an increase in revenue for your company. After experience teaching wellness at work programs, I myself have also found that a healthy employee has better morale, and is more disciplined.

Joanne Sgro is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
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Reviewed July 1, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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