Desk jobs can be real killers. So says recent research by the American Cancer Society that found an increased risk of mortality from people that sat more than six hours a day.
Even more startling is the linking of approximately 49,000 cases of breast cancer annually, and 43,000 incidents of colon cancer, to prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity. An analysis of the study was presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) annual conference, held earlier this month.
It’s not enough to exercise just once a day, researchers say. The AICR instead is urging Americans to spend a minimum of 1 to 2 minutes per hour in physical activity.
“Sitting time is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right. It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk. This phenomenon isn’t dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do,” presented Dr. Neville Owen, PhD and head of Behavioral Epidemiology at Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
In her presentation, Senior Research Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Friedenreich , PhD, of the Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada noted exercise reduced the risk of breast and colon cancer by about 25 to 30 percent. Other cancers, including prostate, also saw reduced risk levels of 10 to 20 percent with physical activity, she said.
What can you do?
With much of the day spent sitting in the office, at home and during the commute, Americans need to make time for even short bursts of activity, said AICR spokesperson Alice Bender, MS RD.
Office furniture manufacturers are already responding with innovative ways to keep workers on the move. Steelcase’s Walkstation which debuted a few years ago, and the VersaTables sit to stand products are just some of the products already out on the marketplace to help combat this form of “sitting disease.”
But if you can’t invest in new products right now, make time throughout the day to move away from the computer screen. Not only might it refresh your brain and reduce stress, but it could very well save your life.
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