Prolonged Sitting May Raise Risk of Certain Cancers
A sedentary lifestyle can increase your cancer risk, according to a new study published in Cancer Prevention Research. Scientists found prolonged sitting may be responsible for over 173,000 cases of the disease in the U.S., which breaks down to 49,000 cases of breast cancer, 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 37,200 cases of lung cancer, as well as 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer, Fox News reports.
Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist with Alberta Health Services in Canada, considers these estimates to be conservative and states that your level of physical activity is inversely related to your likelihood of contracting these cancers, with the most activity associated with the least risk.
Even those who engage in regular daily exercise raise their cancer risk if they sit for prolonged periods of time. It is commonly thought that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise provides a sufficient amount of daily activity. This is not so, states Alice Bender, a dietitian with the American Institute for Cancer Research, who points out that 30 minutes is merely 3% of the typical 15 ½ daily hours people spend awake, Los Angeles Times states. Although a daily workout is beneficial, it is not enough. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic contends that even sitting for one hour is probably too long to go without an activity break, USA Today notes.
What is the remedy? Scientists say getting up two minutes each hour provides some protection. Experts suggest walking to a colleague’s desk to deliver a message, instead of sending an email. Or you could make a trip to the water fountain to get a drink.
Friedenreich is seeking to determine why exercise lowers cancer risk. The new research investigated the link between physical activity and an inflammation marker postulated to be associated with cancer. Results of the study revealed that periods of prolonged sitting led to the production of increased amounts of these markers. Friedenreich cautions that further research is needed to prove these inflammation chemicals cause an increase in cancer risk. In a small study of post-menopausal women, she found that physical activity lowers cancer risk by raising insulin sensitivity and lessening the quantity of body fat, inflammation and certain types of hormones. Regardless of the specific mechanism of action by which exercise reduces the risk of cancer, it appears clear that prolonged sitting exerts a strong negative influence on resistance to this disease.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.
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Article updated on: November 8th, 2011