Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fidgeting for Weight Loss

I'm just finishing up a really interesting class through Coursera on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health. During the past week, we've been studying energy balance and how calories are burned both during activity and at rest at various rates depending on individual metabolism and other factors. This got me to thinking about fidgeting. Can increasing your fidgeting help with weight maintenance or weight loss?

I remember being told as a kid to stop fidgeting. After all, what teacher wants a fidgety kid? It's disruptive to the rest of the class, right? I wasn't particularly fidgety so it wasn't a problem for me to stop. But now I think I'm sorry I did. How many calories would I have burned over the past 40+ years if I had continued to fidget?

Right here on the home front, we have an example of how this works in real life. We're all in our 50s now (there are five in our little non-random sample) and experiencing various rates of middle-age spread, some more than others. After I got onto this whole fidgeting thing, it occurred to me that the one member of our little group who has gained the least weight with age is the one who is fidgety. He rarely sits still. I've been watching him closely over the past few days and now it's no secret to me why he eats more than the rest of us but isn't getting broader.

I realize fidgeting isn't the whole story here. There are many other factors involved in weight maintenance but I think increasing my level of fidgeting is worth considering. Like any other habit, it seems fidgeting can be learned so I think I'll start swinging my foot while sitting here at the computer with my legs crossed and see how it goes for me.

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