Sitting can increase your risk of cancer by up to 66%
By now we’re pretty familiar with the biggest cancer-triggers in our lives – processed meats, smoking, and tumor-causing pollutants in the air, to name a few. But it turns out there’s another hidden cancer contributor that occupies much of our daily lives: sitting.
In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that people who spend more hours of the day sitting have up to a 66% higher risk of developing certain types of cancer than those who aren’t as sedentary.
Sedentary behavior was associated with a 24% greater risk of developing colon cancer, a 32% higher risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer. When the researchers delved deeper into different types of sedentary habits, they found that watching TV was linked to a 54% higher risk of colon cancer and a 66% greater risk of endometrial cancer. For every additional two hours that participants spent sitting during the day, their risk of colon cancer rose by 8%, and their risk of endometrial cancer went up by 10%. They didn’t find a link between sedentary behavior and other types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Try to take breaks every couple of hours, to take a quick walk around the halls or to step outside (bathroom breaks don’t count). And not eating lunch at your desk can also be a way to schedule a physical break in your day. What you don’t want to do, he says, is to make a habit of sitting (in a car or bus or train) to work, sitting at your desk for most of the day, eating lunch at your desk (again, while sitting), and then finally getting up to go home, where you may spend several more hours sitting in front of a TV.