Sydney, March 28 : An Australian study has found that sitting up straight and fidgeting with both legs simultaneously can actually help fight those extra pounds.
Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that sitting up straight all day increases an individual's energy expenditure by the equivalent of an hour's walk.
The team also discovered that this energy expenditure increases when a person fidgets with both legs at the same time.
According to the study, the energy burned with the sitting up straight and fidgeting is 59 percent more than when slumping in a chair.
Research leader Dr Mark Halaki, from the university's exercise and sport science division, said he and his family were fidgeters.
"I have always wondered if this was the reason we didn't gain much weight," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Dr Halaki, as saying.
He added that his family's lean weight history made him put the 'sit straight and fidgeting' idea to the test.
For the study, Dr Halaki's team tested 20 subjects reclining in a comfortable chair, sitting up straight, fidgeting with one or both legs and walking slowly.
They found that just changing posture from a reclined position to upright increased energy expenditure by 17 percent.
"You are exercising a lot of postural muscles," Dr Halaki said.
The researchers also discovered that fidgeting both legs at a natural rate added more benefits, a 59 percent increase over the reclined position.
"It's a significant weight to lift up and drop down," he said.
However, both upright position and fidgeting were eclipsed by a slow walk, which takes 169 percent more energy than sitting still and doing nothing.
"The take-home message is to keep moving - don't send that email, get up and talk to someone," Dr Halaki said.
The study is to be presented to an Australian Association for Sport and Exercise Science conference starting in Melbourne.