7. Our mothers were wrong: fidgeting in seats is a good thing.
The more you move in any capacity, be it pacing or wiggling in your seat, the less likely you are to gain weight, at least according to a 2005 study at the Mayo Clinic. Scientists studied the actions and tracked the caloric intake of obese and thin people for a period of time. They found that the thin participants sat 150 minutes less per day than the obese ones because they tended to fidget more, which meant that they burned an average 350 calories more. Even tapping your foot under the desk works; it’s a movement that continuously activates leg muscles without requiring much energy or thought.
There’s at least one alternative to sitting in a desk chair all day, and that’s the treadmill desk championed by the same Mayo Clinic researchers who studied fidgeting. You walk on the treadmill at any pace you like and type, talk on the phone, and conduct work as you would sitting–only this way you’re burning way more calories. But if your employers won’t spring for that, try to stand up and stretch or walk around at least once an hour. Just don’t stand hunched over your keyboard all day, as I’ve been doing since learning about the horrors of constant sitting. It barely makes a difference calorically, and then you have to explain to confused coworkers why you think your office chair is killing you.