Fidget your way to health

Scientists recently reported that people who fidget gain weight at a slower pace than those who know how to sit still. Apparently, repeated small movements like toe-tapping and knee-bouncing burn up calories faster than accepted forms of exercise like running or cycling.

These scientists deserve a big sloppy kiss from those of us who spend long hours sitting at desks. We now have scientific proof that swivel chairs are just as good for working out as expensive exercise equipment. It also gives us a handy excuse when our spouses or children wonder why we're so tired in the evening when, after all, the entire day was spent sitting down: "Not tonight, hon, I've spent a long day fidgeting!"

Many of you may not understand the complexities of fidgeting as exercise. So I thought I'd prescribe a series of exercises aimed at toning and fat-burning. If you follow this exercise plan faithfully, and eat a balanced diet, you are guaranteed to feel better, look better and smell better. You'll soon be the envy of those misguided souls who believe sweating is a good thing.


This exercise, while seemingly simple, can be difficult to master. But it's important that you learn it well so it comes naturally. You don't want to strain something. You'll find, once you master the basic fidget, that you'll be able to do it without even thinking about it.

The secret to the fidget is to keep one part of your body in motion at all times. This can be as simple as tapping the floor lightly with your foot, or as complex as typing, chewing gum and jiggling your knees all at the same time. Again, remember to start slowly. You don't want to injure yourself. It's easy to become discouraged when your exercise program is interrupted by a painful tendon or spleen.

Once you've mastered the Basic Fidget, it's time to move on to more strenuous exercises, such as:


This exercise will build your arm muscles, but it does include an element of danger. How many of us have had our workouts (not to mention our workdays) ruined by hot coffee spilled in the lap? Unless the coffee is from a fast food joint and you stand to make millions off a lawsuit, it's better to keep the coffee in the cup.

Lift the coffee mug slowly to your lips and sip from it. Then set it down on a nearby horizontol surface, preferably one at some distance from expensive computer equipment. Once you have the basic coffee-drinking movement down pat, you can increase the resistance by using bigger mugs. Some of us more experienced desk jockeys have worked up to mugs that hold 10 or 12 ounces. But be warned, this is not for the novice.

Important: Remember to switch hands occasionally. You don't want one arm to become more developed than the other. This looks odd and can prove embarrassing when attempting to button your cuffs in public.


Gently rocking back and forth in your chair exercises the leg muscles as well as toning the torso and back muscles. Make sure the chair is well-oiled so that it does not squeak. A squeaking chair can result in injury, particularly if you work with others who are sensitive to the noise.


This is a tricky maneuver that actually requires standing up. Rise to your feet, taking care to maintain your balance. Lift both arms over your head and stretch your entire body. Pretend you're reaching for the ceiling or doing something else that requires great height, such as kissing a giraffe. Once you've gotten out all the kinks, carefully return to your seat and relax all over. Repeat as necessary.


This generally overlooked exercise can combat the localized weight gain known scientifically as "chair spread." I find this exercise is particularly effective while playing video games that involve shooting monsters. It also occurs naturally when your boss catches you playing video games.

Practice these exercises daily and the inches will melt away. And soon, you'll find that you've developed enough muscle tone that you're ready for more strenuous maneuvers, such as Preparing Lunch or Going Outside.

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