As people spend more and more time sitting than at any other point in human history, the health effects and dangers that a sedentary lifestyle can have on a person’s overall well being have started to come to light in recent years, by way of numerous health studies and research into the subject.
Can Sitting for Prolonged Periods Increase Your Risk for Developing Cancer?
In a word, possibly. Research has shown that people with predominantly sedentary lifestyles – sitting for six to eight hours a day on average with little to no breaks in between, which is well within the norm for most Americans, can contribute to a host of serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
The link remains somewhat unclear, but experts believe that poor circulation and higher insulin levels in the blood contribute to everything from fatty deposits in the arteries that lead to cardiovascular disease, to cell growth in cancer. An increased risk of colon, endometrial and breast cancers have been the most widely reported in recent findings.
Does Exercise Help?
Somewhat alarmingly, even an hour or two at the gym after repeatedly sitting for several hours a day may not be enough to offset the dangerous health effects of sedentary inactivity. Instead, breaking up long periods of sitting with shorter bursts of activity can help to mitigate the risks of insulin build-up more effectively. While standing for long periods of time may not be possible or feasible for everyone, making it a point to stand up and stretch and to get the legs moving throughout the day can make more of a difference than larger periods of activity at the gym a few hours each week. Experts suggest that standing up and moving around every 30 minutes or so is ideal.
For people who may already be in treatment for cancer, the dually beneficial activities of meditation and gentle yoga stretching can be an ideal way to break up the monotony of sitting, while incorporating gentle, stress relieving activities.
Cancer Center of Southern California
To learn more about diagnosis and treatment options for cancer, or to obtain a second opinion, contact the Cancer Center of Southern California by calling 310.879.1099 to schedule an appointment with an experienced oncologist today.