While the cure for cancer may not yet be on the horizon, ways to prevent the disease are fortunately being discovered by experts, as well as the different risks one’s lifestyle presents. A recent study reveals that prolonged periods of sitting can actually increase a person’s risk for getting 173,000 cases of cancer.
This could be a matter of concern to working people, particularly those in an office environment, wherein a lot of computer or paper work is demanded every day. In fact, even 30 minutes of exercise a day - the recommended amount of physical activity per day - is said to not be enough, says experts, as this accounts for a mere 3 percent of the person’s day.
Risks for breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer were said to increase with prolonged sitting, according to the study by Christine Friedenrich, an epidemiologist at the Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada.
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Other health risks of prolonged sitting and an overall sedentary lifestyle are weight gain, shortened life span (muscle activity drops), and even type 2 diabetes.
For postmenopausal women, in particular, those who had light to moderate amounts of physical activity daily were found to have lower levels of C-reactive protein in their bodies. C-reactive protein is an indicator of inflammation, signaling that the body’s immune system is fighting off an infection. High levels of C-reactive protein could potentially damage cells and increase the risk for cancer.
So what can those whose work requires uninterrupted periods of sitting do? They can break this up with several brief bouts of light exercises, ideally every hour. Simple ways, as suggested by the American Institute for Cancer Research, include going to a colleague’s workstation to discuss something instead of e-mailing him, taking a short walk along the hallway every hour, or even using light hand weights that you can use while reading the e-mail or talking on the phone, can help. Other ways to increase muscle activity are also drinking water, stretching occasionally, and even organizing your desk.
•November 3, 2011. Rachael Rettner. “Prolonged Sitting Linked to 173,000 Cancer Cases Yearly”livescience.com
•November 7, 2011. Leta Shy. “The Dangerous Effects of Sitting at Your Desk” fitsugar.com