Sedentary behavior is anything you do while sitting or lying down, excluding sleeping. Examples of sedentary behaviors include sitting and watching TV, lying on the sofa reading a book, driving to work, and sitting at a desk or computer.
Recent research shows that long periods of sedentary behavior can increase your risk of breast and colon cancer regardless of meeting physical activity guidelines.
You can meet the physical activity guidelines of 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity activity most days but still lead a sedentary lifestyle if a big part of your day involves sitting or lying down.
Living a physically inactive lifestyle contributes to weight gain. Being overweight or obese is also a risk factor for several major cancers and primarily breast and colon cancer. Excess of weight and too much sitting tends to give wrong signals to the brain leading to a variety of diseases.
It’s very easy to sit too much. A typical day might involve eating breakfast, driving to work, sitting at your desk all day, driving home, sitting at the table for dinner, and then watching TV in the evening. But to reduce your risk of cancer it is important to reduce sedentary behaviors and move more.
Excessive Sitting and Cancer
Women who spend 6 hours or more of free time sitting per day have a 10% greater risk of getting cancer than women who spend less than 3 hours of free time sitting per day according to researchers from American Cancer Society.
Some people exercised regularly, didn’t smoke, and avoided all of the normal carcinogens and yet ended up with cancer. Prolonged periods of sitting increase your risk of cancer - researchers have figured out one more piece of the cancer puzzle.
According to a study in 2013, 86% of people sit all day, every day. 36% people sit another 1-2 hours while watching TV in addition to the extensive that sitting that people do at work. The rest of the people go home and read and work on their home computers and sit extra hours.
As compared to those who sit for less than three hours daily, women who sit for at least six hours every day have a higher risk of suffering from cancer. According to a study referenced to on the American Cancer Society, the longer time a woman spends sitting can significantly raise her risk of cancer, specifically breast cancer. For both men and women, sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.
Breast and colon cancer appear to be most influenced by physical activity: a 2011 study found that prolonged sitting could be responsible for as much as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer annually in any continent. The body cells tend to be badly affected when one sits for a long time leading to specific cancers.
Though unclear about the underlying mechanism caused by sitting, scientists have found a number of biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, that are present in higher levels in people who sit for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Standing Desks are the need of the hour
Large amounts of time spent sitting has been a potential health risk for office staff. A study published earlier this year found that standing desks could boost life expectancy by reducing workers’ risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancers as well.
In June, Apple chief executive Tim Cook revealed all workers at the company’s new California headquarters had been given standing desks, describing sitting as “the new cancer”.