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Moving Feet = Healthy Heart

Brittany Twiss, Program Assistant, NDSU Extension

In honor of February being Heart Health Month, try to do some heart-healthy activity, even while sitting at a desk.

Physical activity and following a healthful eating pattern are key to maintaining heart health, according to health experts. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that physical inactivity and an unhealthful diet likely cause 300,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

A significant part of the problem for some people is sitting at a desk for eight hours a day.

Here’s some good news: New research led by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that continuously moving while sitting at a desk may boost your metabolic rate more than sitting or even standing at a desk.

The study measured metabolic rates of people sitting at a desk; sitting at a desk fitted with a movable footrest that allows the feet to swing, teeter or twist; and standing at a desk. Using a desk fitted with the moving device elevated the study participants’ metabolic rate 7 percent more than standing and 17 percent more than just sitting.

"These results suggest that nonexercise active thermogenesis, which we call NEAT, can increase movement and calorie burning, and may have the potential to impact health," reports the study’s lead author, Craig Horswill, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

"We expected to see the metabolic rate increase with each progressive stage, but instead found that metabolic rates from movement while seated were either equal to or higher than rates while standing," he adds.

Can’t afford a moveable footrest? No problem. Here are some tips to get moving throughout your day:

  • Incorporate yoga
  • Organize lunchtime activities
  • Take regular walking breaks
  • Fidget your legs and feet

Hungry for more tips? Visit to learn more about “The Family Table,” an initiative from the North Dakota State University Extension Service, so you can eat, connect and stay safe at the family table. Join the challenges and sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips. Follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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