Tapping heel or feet while sitting may be considered annoying and or a not to do behavior while sitting in a meeting or around people. But, less is known about it, being a habit that might be reducing the risk of many health problems. Tapping heel or feet while sitting is also known as leg fidgeting.
Seated Heel or Foot Tap Exercise (Legs Fidgeting)
Most of us have a work environment demanding sitting for a long period of hours in a day. This brings in the risk of a cluster of health conditions, which include:
- Putting on excess weight
- Leg cramps
- Increase in blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol level
- Deposits of plaque in the arteries
- Heart diseases
Seated Heel or Foot Tap exercise keeps the blood flowing in the legs when a person is sitting for a long time. This prevents a decline in the function of leg arteries that can happen due to sitting for long hours. It can also be helpful in losing those extra calories. This exercise can be added to the lower body workout, cardio routine, or circuit training program.
Benefits of Seated Heel or Foot Tap Exercise (Legs Fidgeting)
Heel or Foot Tapping and Burning Calories
A study showed that a minute of seated heel or foot tap exercise helps in burning 0.62 calories.(1) This number can vary depending on how aggressively a person taps his feet. In the study, it was also observed that a heavier person will burn more calories than a lighter person.
Another study was done, in which the subjects were given 1000 extra calories per day.(2) It was found that some gained more weight while some less. It was theorized by the researchers that those who gained less weight burned up to 800 calories a day by fidgeting or seated heel tap. The study found that as the calorie intake increased, the subjects burned extra calories by fidgeting.
Heel or Foot Tapping Exercise and Healthy Heart
Sitting for a long period of time reduces the blood flow and this may contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Sitting for more than 9 hours a day is linked with a 16% increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.(3)
Heel or foot tapping not only increases the blood flow to the limbs but also is helpful in preventing a decline in arterial function. It can therefore help in reducing the risk of heart disease, angina, stroke and heart attacks.
Moving legs can be helpful but cannot replace walking and exercise.
Foot Tapping Helps in Raising the Immune System Function
According to reflexology, the feet are connected to all parts of the body. Foot tapping stimulates the feet and improves circulation to the organs and provides warmth to the body efficiently. Foot tapping exercise is therefore considered effective in improving immunity and enhancing energy and blood circulation throughout the body.
Tapping of the feet brings the blood from the upper part of the body to down the feet. This helps in cooling the head and warming up the lower body and abdomen.(5)
Heel Tapping Can Relieve Stressed Feet
Sitting for long hours at work reduces the blood flow to the legs making them more stressed and tired.
Tapping of the feet can improve circulation thereby relieving the stressed muscles.
Helps Children with ADHD
Fidgeting helps children with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.)(4) It helps in increasing concentration. But here it’s not just fidgeting the feet. These children make small movements with their hands and feet to calm their nervousness and anxiety.
Tapping of feet may be no be liked by people who watch you doing it. But why not do it, if it’s offering so many benefits to health. Also, for those who do not have extra time to make out for a gym workout or go for refreshing morning work, foot tapping can prove to be a good starting or stress-relieving workout. Also, there is nothing much you got to do about it. Just sit and tap-tap.