This is a FACT.
Desk jobs have been accused of being boring, but never dangerous…until now. Compelling and substantial recent research links inactivity and long periods of sitting to certain kinds of cancer.
A total of more than 200 cancer studies worldwide now provide conclusive evidence that consistent physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer by up to 30%. People in sedentary jobs are at much higher risk of these cancers than those employed in more physical jobs.
Furthermore, prolonged sitting is also linked to early death.
Alpa Patel, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist, conducted a study of 123,000 people and concluded that the more time people spent sitting, the greater their risk of premature death. “Even among individuals who were regularly active, the risk of dying prematurely was higher among those who spent more time sitting,” Patel told USA Today.
Exercise Alone is Not Enough
Unfortunately, it seems as if the risks of prolonged sitting can’t be easily offset by increased bursts of physical exercise.
A controlled study found that people with physical jobs had a 44% reduced risk of colon cancer—regardless of how much participants did or didn’t exercise off the job. This means that even if you work out frequently, you could still be at risk if you spend many hours a day seated.
“Even if you are doing half an hour of aerobic activity a day, you need to make sure you don’t sit the rest of the day, Patel says. “You have to get up and take breaks from sitting.”
James Levine, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, says that on average we sit for 7-9½ hours each day. “If you’ve sat for an hour, you’ve probably sat too long,” he says. “One hour of sitting without standing up is too long, and can increase your risk of cancer.”
Simple Ways to Cut Your Risk
Experts do offer a few suggestions to help reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting:
• Take the stairs
• Park your car at the far end of the lot
• Get off the bus one stop early
• Take regular breaks to stand up and walk around when working at a desk
• Exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Even if increased workouts don’t mitigate the risks of sitting, exercise still boosts overall health in important ways.