According to a research presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) conference, prolonged sitting is linked to as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer a year in the United States.
Breast and colon cancer appear to be the cancers most influenced by physical activity, according to the research we have to date, said Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada.
Her findings also suggested that an estimated 37,200 cases of lung cancer, 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer could be prevented if people were more physically active.
In Friedenreich’s study, postmenopausal women who engaged in moderate to vigorous daily exercise had lower levels of C-reactive protein in their bodies after one year compared with women who did not engage in this level of physical activity.
C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, an immune response that normally helps your body fight off infection. Low levels of this protein have been linked to lowered breast cancer risk.
Based on her study and previous work on cancer indicators, Friedenreich estimated that regular physical activity cuts a person’s risk of breast and colon cancer by 25-30 percent.
“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,” Friedenreich said.
One previous study linked too much sitting to women having a 10 percent higher risk of developing myeloma, ovarian cancer, and invasive breast cancer.
This current study is one of the first to associate specific sedentary behavioral patterns with young-onset colorectal cancer risk.
Keys Recommendation to Reduce Cancer Risk
Break every hour of sitting with 1 to 2 minutes of activity. These breaks can be as simple as walking to a colleague’s office instead of sending an email or going to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
The researcher found that 1 to 2 minutes breaks from sitting were associated with smaller waists, less insulin resistance – a sign of type 2 diabetes – and lower levels of inflammation – all risk factors for cancer.
Set a timer on your computer to remind you every hour that it’s time to step away from your desk, and take a short walk down the hall. Instead of emailing a co-worker, chat with him or her over a walk.