I have recently learned about an interesting component of health and fitness: fidgeting. The word fidget means to move about restlessly, nervously, or impatiently. The benefit to health is certainly not the anxiety of mind but rather the constant body movement involved in fidgeting: tapping your foot, twiddling your thumbs, or pacing.
Fidgeting and other regular motions fall under the category of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, trademarked by the Mayo Clinic as NEAT. Our body uses energy at rest, which is our Basal Metabolic Rate. Our body also uses energy when we purposefully exercise and play sports. In between resting and exercising is our regular daily activity. Unfortunately, our environment and technology make it very easy not to move around.
Our bodies were designed by God to move!
While it may only burn a few calories, an important benefit of fidgeting is increased circulation. Since I don’t fidget unconsciously, I am trying to make a conscious effort to fidget and move around more. My life is full of sedentary activities, such as reading, writing and working on the computer. So I have started looking for triggers to remind me to move. When I read, I could do something with my legs, such as rock the chair with my feet, or point and flex my toes, so I have bookmarks with footprints. When my hands are free while listening or watching something, I try to be crafty, play with a squishy toy, or do arm curls. Keep a stress ball with the remote controls as a reminder. To get up every 15-30 minutes for a stretch and a drink of water, sometimes I just need to set an alarm. I’ve dropped a couple of bright highlighters under my desk so that I can roll my feet over them while I work on the computer. Without my shoes, it’s a free foot massage!
I know that fidgeting will not use enough energy to burn off the calories in a chocolate milkshake, but it can be a good start to get and stay in motion throughout the day. There are other choices we can make to be more active during our daily routine. You have probably heard some of these suggestions but didn’t know the science behind them. These are all NEAT ideas to increase movement throughout the day. Here are some of my favorites.
- Park further away to walk to your destination, and carry your grocery bags.
- Pace while talking on the phone or memorizing Bible verses.
- Stretch, rock or side-step while standing in lines, no matter how silly you think you look.
- Household chores already provide a lot of motion, but kick it up with music!
Now is my chance to give you some encouragement from the Bible to get moving! In the midst of one of the greatest gospel presentations recorded in Scripture, Paul states, “..for in Him we live and move and exist…” (Acts 17:28a) Our bodies were designed by God to move! The Proverbs 31 woman is always busy with her hands. My daughter Rachel recently studied 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 wherein we are all encouraged to work with our hands in the midst of our daily lives. So, let’s get moving to live a vibrant life to the glory of God!
Do you fidget? What are some ways you can add motion and activity to your day? Do you have other Bible verses that motivate you to move?