The perils of the modern sedentary lifestyle seem never-ending. The latest research by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shows a direct link between sitting for prolonged periods of time and chaotic cell growth. The exact medical connections are still being studied, but doctors presume that approximately 80,000 cancer cases each year can be attributed to inactivity from long hours spent at a desk.
Who’s at risk?
Basically everyone with a desk job! Even those who work out regularly are not excluded from the risks of cancer.
- A person spends approximately 16 waking hours in a day of which 30 minutes of physical activity constitutes of only 3 per cent of the day’s workout. The other 15½ hours pack in enough inactivity to up your cancer risk significantly.
- Cancer risk increases even further when long periods of sitting idle lead to weight gain and overweight and obese people are more susceptible to cancer.
- A deskbound lifestyle causes increased inflammation, which contributes to cancer risk.
- In order to lower your risk of cancer you need to be active throughout the day.
- Even a minute long walk every hour can cut back your chances of having cancer by 40 per cent. It is particularly effective in protecting against breast or colon cancer.
- For people with desk jobs, it is strongly recommended that they get up several times a day to lower the biomarkers of cancer.
- Being active not only lowers your chances of getting cancer, it also leads to a slimmer waistline thus cutting back several other health risks too, such as insulin resistance or joint pains.
- Get up and walk around for a couple of minutes after every hour. If necessary, set a timer on your computer to remind you to get up.
- If possible keep a few lightweights in your office, use them while you are talking on the phone or reading up on something.
- Conduct meetings and phone calls while standing. Move around the room if you can, it contributes to your daily physical activity level.
- Cut back on emails to colleagues. Go over to their desks and convey the message instead.
- Replace your water bottle with a tumbler and refill it periodically from the water cooler.