3rd November 2011
Sitting around can increase your risk of cancer, say scientists.
A major study, presented at the at the American Institute for Cancer Research annual conference, has revealed a strong connection between inactivity and unregulated cell growth.
Researchers say that 92,000 cases a year of breast and colon cancer can be attributed to lack of exercise and are now urging people to get fit, interdepersing every hour of sitting with one to two minutes of activity.
Lead researcher Christine Friedenreich, of Alberta Health Services Cancer Care in Canada, presented findings from a new paper, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, on physical activity and cancer risk.
An assessment of post-menopausal women confirmed that taking brisk daily walks helps to reduce several key biological indicators of cancer risk, including sex hormone levels, insulin resistance, inflammation and body fatness.
Dr Friedenreich said: ‘In breast and colon cancers, for example, we’re seeing overall risk reductions of about 25 to 30 percent associated with higher levels of physical activity.
TIPS FOR MOVING MORE
Set the timer on your computer to remind you every 60 minutes that it’s time to step away from your desk and take a short walk
Keep light hand weights in your office to use while reading email or talking on the phone
During all phone calls and phone meetings, stand up and walk around
Source American Institute for Cancer Research
‘These numbers are powerful. The bottom line: For many of the most common cancers, it seems like something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can help reduce cancer risk.’
Meanwhile another study highlighted that even those who are psychically active but sit for long periods are still at increased risk of developing cancers.
Researchers from Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute discovered that that even breaks as short as one minute can help prevent health complications.
Neville Owen, who presented evidence at today’s Washington conference said: ‘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.’
His study revealed that the majority of adults’ days are spent sedentary.
One accelerometer study found that 60 percent (9.3 hours) of subjects’ waking day was spent sedentary, including meals, commutes and compute r/ television time, while another 35 percent (6.5 hours) was spent engaged in light activity such as walking to a meeting.
Office workers can spend over 75 percent of their working hours sitting, with bouts of 30 minutes or more of activity.
Dr Owen is hopeful that the findings will prompt practical recommendations on workplace health, such as removing office waste baskets, using standing desks, and meetings with standing breaks.
AICR spokesperson Alice Bender, added: ‘Taken together, this research suggests that every day, we’re each given numerous opportunities to be active and protect ourselves from cancer, not one.
‘We need to start thinking in terms of make time and break time.’