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Chair-based fidgeting and energy expenditure
  1. Gabriel A Koepp1,
  2. Graham K Moore1,
  3. James A Levine1,2
  1. 1Obesity Solutions, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
  2. 2Obesity Solutions, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to James A Levine; Levine.james{at}


Introduction Sedentariness is associated with chronic health conditions, impaired cognitive function and obesity. Work contributes significantly to sedentariness because many work tasks necessitate sitting. Few sustained solutions exist to reverse workplace sedentariness. Here, we evaluated a chair and an under-table device that were designed to promote fidgeting while seated. Our hypothesis was that an under-table leg-fidget bar and/or a fidget-promoting chair significantly increased energy expenditure. We compared these devices with chair-based exercise and walking.

Materials and methods We measured energy expenditure and heart rate in 16 people while they sat and worked using a standard chair, an under-desk device that encourages leg fidgeting and a fidget-promoting chair. We compared outcomes with chair-based exercise and walking.

Results Energy expenditure increased significantly while using either an under-table leg-fidget bar or a fidget-promoting chair, when compared to the standard office chair (standard chair, 76±31 kcal/hour; leg-fidget bar, 98±42 kcal/hour (p<0.001); fidget chair, 89±40 kcal/hour (p=0.03)). However, heart rate did not increase significantly in either case. Bouts of exercise performed while seated provided energetic and heart rate equivalency to walking at 2 mph.

Conclusions Chairs and devices that promote fidgeting can increase energy expenditure by ∼20–30% but not increase heart rate. Dynamic sitting may be among a lexicon of options to help people move more while at work.

  • Energy expenditure
  • Metabolism
  • Physical activity
  • Sitting time
  • Sedentary

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