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Glad You Asked

September 18, 2009

Q: People who fidget tend to be skinnier because they waste a lot of energy. If you’re not a natural fidgeter, how much fidgeting would you have to do for this effect—and how might you introduce it into your day?
—William Dodds, Corte Madera

A: People who are spontaneously active tend to be skinny—fidgeting is just one of their behaviors. Fidgeting is characteristic of people who walk and take the stairs, for example. There are some people who are slow-moving whatever they do, and to think fidgeting can help them lose weight is wishful thinking. To lose weight, you have to exercise and eat right. People with a healthy BMI (between 20 and 25) maintain their weight by being active for an hour a day. People who are less active—moving for just 30 minutes a day, for instance—need to restrict their calorie intake, or weight gain is progressive. Couch potatoes can fidget with their chips, soft drinks, and beers all they want while watching TV, but they will be neither fit nor lean.

—Thanks to Professor George Brooks, director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory

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