Shaking your leg while sitting seems like an involuntary, pointless movement. While sitting for extended periods without movement is considered unhealthy, shaking your legs has been linked with some benefits. But does shaking your leg while sitting help you lose weight and burn calories?
Leg shaking does help burn some calories. However, it’s not enough to contribute to meaningful weight loss. More intensive exercises and a healthy diet are needed to lose weight effectively. Leg shaking can be a good habit for improving posture, focus and breaking up prolonged sitting.
But don’t rely on it alone to achieve weight loss goals. Read on to learn how to use this and other activities you can pair with it for the best weight loss results.
Does shaking your leg while sitting help you lose weight and burn calories?
Millions of people spend the majority of their day sitting at work, school, or during leisure activities. While sitting is not inherently unhealthy, remaining still for extended periods can negatively impact your health. Also read: Do Body Vibration Machine Help You Lose Weight?
However, engaging in constant motion while sitting, such as shaking your legs, can help burn calories and potentially aid in weight loss.
Does shaking your leg while sitting help you lose weight and burn calories? Yes, moving your legs frequently while sitting can help burn some calories, but the action is not enough to contribute to weight loss on its own.
Studies have found that fidgeting, even simple movements like shaking or tapping your legs, can increase your energy expenditure by up to 50%.
This means that constantly bouncing or shaking your legs for an hour can burn anywhere from 20 to 100 calories, depending on your size and the intensity of the movement.
You’re exercising your leg muscles when you shake or move your legs. Any type of muscle contraction requires energy and burns calories. Even light and intermittent movements like tapping or bouncing your legs for extended periods use small amounts of muscle energy, which adds up over time. For best results, exaggeratedly shake your legs at a fairly rapid pace.
However, most dietitians recommend aiming for a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories or more for sustainable weight loss. So, the movement is minor. Read Here: How Much Weight Is Lost During Sleep?
Leg shaking involves only tiny movements from the knee and lower leg muscles. As proven, spot-targeted weight loss doesn’t work, and this won’t be any different.
Significant weight loss requires engaging larger muscle groups for more strenuous exercise. Activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or weight lifting achieve this. If you combine the shaking with these exercises, you can leap big at the end of the day.
Benefits of Shaking Your Leg While Sitting Beyond Burning Calories
While shaking your legs while seated might not cause a significant effect toward weight loss, there are additional benefits besides helping you burn a few extra calories. This type of movement can help:
- Improves Blood Flow
Constantly shaking one or both legs while sitting activates the muscles in your legs, calves, and feet. This muscle movement assists in pumping blood back up to your heart, improving blood flow and circulation. Better circulation reduces your risk of blood clots and health issues like deep vein thrombosis.
- Alleviates Leg Cramps
Shaking, extending, and flexing your legs while seated can help relieve cramps, tightness, and stiffness that often occur after sitting for prolonged periods. The motion stretches your leg muscles and relieves pressure that builds up when sitting too long.
- Improves Focus and Reduces Anxiety
Shaking your legs can have a calming, soothing effect that allows you to focus better while sitting. It provides an outlet for excess energy and relieves nervousness or anxiety from a sedentary environment. Some claim that leg shaking even improves creativity.
Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of Leg Shaking While Sitting
While leg shaking alone may not cause significant weight loss, following these tips can help maximize the other potential benefits:
- Use Both Legs
When possible, move and alternate between shaking both legs for maximum impact. Shaking one leg at a time only utilizes the muscles on one side of your body, but shaking both legs engages the muscles on both sides.
This doubles muscle activity and calorie-burning potential compared to shaking just one leg. For example, if shaking one leg burns 50 calories per hour, shaking both legs could potentially burn close to 100 calories per hour.
Remember, you’re now exercising double the amount of muscle mass. So aim to move and alternate between both legs as much as comfortable while sitting to maximize the benefits.
- Increase Intensity
Start with light leg tapping and progressively increase to moderate or even exaggerated shaking. The faster and more forceful the movement, the more calories you’ll expend.
More intense leg shaking engages your leg muscles for a longer contraction duration with each movement, requiring more energy and resulting in higher calorie burn. So start slow and build up the speed and exaggeration of your leg shaking over time for optimal results.
- Shake Frequently
Aim to shake your legs for at least a few minutes every 30-60 minutes throughout the day. The more total time spent shaking, the greater the positive effects on circulation, mood, and focus.
Make an effort to frequently interrupt long periods of sitting still by incorporating several short 2-3 minute bouts of leg shaking throughout your work or study day. Read Here: Does pooping in the morning help you lose weight?
- Pair with Other Movements
Get up from your desk or chair periodically and stretch your legs. Take short walks whenever possible. Combining leg shaking with standing and walking further increases the number of calories you burn.
Any time you can stand up from sitting and walk around, even for a couple of minutes, you’ll spike your calorie burn above what leg shaking alone provides. So pairing leg shaking with intermittent movement breaks is the most effective strategy.
What Are Some Good Ways To Incorporate Leg Shaking Into My Daily Routine?
Adding regular leg shaking into your daily routine while sitting can provide health benefits and help break up prolonged periods of inactivity. Here are some practical ways to make leg shaking a habit:
- Set Reminders Every Hour
Setting a timer or alarm to go off every 60 minutes is adequate for remembering to shake your legs for 3-5 minutes vigorously. Start with smaller, more frequent goals and gradually increase time and intensity.
- Shake Lightly While Watching TV for 10-15 Minutes Per Episode
Instead of sitting completely still, get in the habit of lightly bouncing or shaking one leg while watching your favorite shows. Even 10-15 minutes per 30-minute episode adds up over an entire day.
- Incorporate it During Long Work Phone Calls
Talking on the phone at work provides a perfect opportunity to subtly shake one leg under your desk for the entire call duration. This can boost focus, relieve restlessness and improve cognitive performance.
- Make it a Loading Screen Ritual for 1-2 Minutes
Whenever you have to wait for a webpage to load, an email to send, etc., vigorously shake both legs for 60-120 seconds. These micro habits add up over an entire workday.
- Replace Fidgety Habits with Leg Shaking
If you constantly tap your foot, click a pen, or have other restless tendencies, replace them with shaking one leg instead. Over time, this can become your new fidgety outlet.
- Do it Under the Table During Long Meetings
Subtly shake one leg under the table for at least 10-15 minutes during every 30-minute interval of long, sedentary meetings. Avoid distracting others.
- Shake Lightly for 5-10 Minutes Per Hour of Reading
Instead of sitting entirely still while reading books, articles, or documents, habitually shake one leg for 5-10 minutes out of every 60 minutes. Take micro-breaks every 10-15 pages.
How to Increase Calorie Burn While Sitting
You can do simple movements and exercises while sitting that burn extra calories. These can help contribute to weight loss goals over time.
- Leg Lifts and Heel Lifts
Lift one leg, then the other. Hold each lift for 5–10 seconds. These lifts work your thigh, glute, and calf muscles. Aim for sets of 10-20 lifts throughout the workday. Each set burns 5-10 calories by exercising your leg muscles.
- Marching and Arm Exercises
March in place, shifting weight from leg to leg. Lift knees higher for more muscle activity and calorie burn. Do arm exercises using dumbbells or just body weight. Try bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, and more. These motions burn 20-50 calories over 10-20 minute routines.
- Chair Aerobics and Fidget Toys
Perform aerobic movements like high knees, leg lifts, and twists while seated. Chair aerobics for 20-30 minutes can burn anywhere from 50-150 calories. Fidget devices that require constant motion, like squeeze balls, burn a few extra calories with prolonged use.
- Standing Desk
Switching to a standing desk, even part-time, automatically raises calorie expenditure. Standing burns more calories than sitting due to engaging more muscles.
Shaking your legs while sitting can help engage your leg muscles and burn extra calories. This small movement should be paired with other activities like walking and exercising to achieve weight loss goals. Moving your legs frequently while seated can help improve blood flow, reduce leg cramps, and provide a calming effect to promote focus. Make it a habit to incorporate leg-shaking sessions throughout your day for m
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