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Stand Up And Drop Cancer Risk

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Photo by Steffen Kugler/Getty Images
Do you love to sit as much as I do? Sitting on our butts may be responsible for 173,000 cases of cancer each year, according to new estimates. Physical inactivity is linked to as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer each year in the U.S., according to researchers at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada. Breast and colon cancer appear to be the cancers most influenced by physical inactivity, but the study 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. The findings add to a growing body of research indicating that prolonged sitting has lethal consequences, regardless of how active people are the rest of the day. However, there’s good news – it seems that long, uninterrupted periods of sitting is what is most unhealthy and by frequently breaking up long bouts of sitting with just a few minutes of light exercise, a person can lower his or her cancer risk dramatically. The study found that one- to two-minute breaks from sitting can reduce levels of molecules in the body that are linked with cancer risk. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends the following tips for breaking up your sitting sessions:

•Set a timer on your computer to remind you every hour that it’s time to step away from your desk.
•Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk over and chat with them.
•If possible, stand up and walk around during phone calls and meetings.
•Keep light hand weights in your office to use while reading email or talking on the phone.

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