You might have heard that shaking your legs burns calories. Yes, that’s right; shaking your leg while sitting can help you burn calories.
However, it is not considered an exercise or an alternative to a controlled diet. We will investigate why shaking your leg burns calories.
The number of calories burnt by shaking your leg depends upon your body composition and other factors, but the amount is insignificant.
Who knew this mindless act of shaking your leg in your office desk or TV room could result in something productive?
But, doing so is also considered a sign of anxiety or restlessness. The article will shed light on all aspects regarding shaking your leg burn calories.
Table of Contents
- Why Does Shaking Your Legs Burn Calories?
- How Many Calories You Can Burn By Shaking Your Legs?
- Is Shaking Your Legs Bad For Your Health?
- Tips To Burn Extra Calories By Fidgeting
- Does Shaking Your Leg Cause Weight Loss?
- Final Thoughts
Why Does Shaking Your Legs Burn Calories?
Shaking your leg can also be termed as fidgeting, swinging, or tapping. It burns a small few calories as very little energy is expended in contracting and relaxing your leg.
But the repeated movement results in the burning of some calories due to the following reasons:
Increased Heart Rate
If you are shaking your leg vigorously, it can elevate your heart rate slightly.
When your heart rate increases more than regular, there is an expense of some calories, as your heart pumps more blood and oxygen to the muscles involved in the activity.
Shaking your leg is not a mere act. It involves your leg muscles like the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles. Continuous contraction and relaxation require energy to perform it.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
Fidgeting or shaking your legs comes under NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis).
NEAT covers all the unstructured physical activities such as standing, fidgeting, or walking around. Note that there is a loss of only a minute number of calories. For the significant expense of your calories, you have to perform structured exercises.
How Many Calories You Can Burn By Shaking Your Legs?
There is no definite number of calories burned by shaking legs. It depends on the time and how vigorously you are shaking your leg.
It is not an exercise; hence, it is difficult to measure the exact number of calories. But you can assume there’s a loss of 50 to 500 calories per day just by shaking your leg.
According to one study, you can burn 2.6 kJ per minute by fidgeting. You can get the idea that if you shake your leg vigorously for an hour, you can burn around 50 calories.
Is Shaking Your Legs Bad For Your Health?
Fidgeting or swinging your leg while sitting is a common habit. There is no such evidence that it is harmful to your health.
But this practice is often considered a sign of anxiety. You might have seen people shaking their legs during an interview or a conference due to nervousness.
People even confuse shaking their legs as physical activity and shift towards a sedentary lifestyle that in the long run can harm your health. So, it is always better to have proper physical activity to keep yourself physically fit.
On the other hand, shaking your leg doesn’t look pleasing to others. It can cause a distraction for the people watching it.
Tips To Burn Extra Calories By Fidgeting
Shaking your leg is not a substitute for regular exercise but contributes to burning calories. Here are a few tips that can effectively help you burn extra calories.
Embrace The Fidget
Most people fidget naturally. If so, don’t stop yourself. Shake your leg, and tap your feet to burn extra calories. If you add these small activities intentionally will result in burning more calories than usual.
You might be surprised that even standing to burn your calories. Develop a habit of standing while talking on the phone or working on your laptop.
If your job requires you to be seated continuously, take breaks in between. Walk a bit, stretch, or stand for a while to relax your body.
Constant sitting in one place can make you feel dull, a break will enhance your productivity and burn calories.
Try A Fitness Tracker
Technology has evolved the world; you can track and monitor your activity levels with the help of a fitness tracker. It can even detect fidgeting and other NEAT to give you the number of your daily calorie burn.
Try more NEAT activities
Make a few wise changes in your life, you can effectively burn more calories. Instead of driving to the store, take a walk to keep yourself active. Ditch elevators opt for stairs, and do house chores to burn your calories.
Keep yourself hydrated
For a good metabolism, you need to keep your hydration levels under check. Drink plenty of water to boost your metabolism. Keep fidgeting to burn extra calories.
Does Shaking Your Leg Cause Weight Loss?
Shaking your leg is a NEAT activity that refers to the things we do in our day other than sleeping, eating, or playing some sport. NEAT activities do not contribute to weight loss directly.
However, a study conducted by M.D. Mayo Clinic, James Levine explains that people who consume more calories than their requirement needs activities like fidgeting or shaking their leg to burn excess calories.
People who have a sedentary lifestyle with no NEAT activities tend to gain 10 folds more fat.
Shaking your leg is not a reliable method for weight loss. But it plays a small role.
It doesn’t create significant change on the weighing scale. But with some structured physical activities and fidgeting, you can observe notable results.
Shaking your leg burns calories, but the number is not very significant. Fidgeting is an unstructured mild physical activity that contributes to total energy expenditure.
But, it is not a substitute for other physical activities. Intense physical activity is required if you are aiming for weight loss.
Secondly, there’s no such evidence of the negative impact of fidgeting but it is considered a symbol of anxiety.
If you have further concerns, you can seek help from a healthcare professional.