Sitting down can cause cancer

Sitting down too much can cause certain cancers

Man alone on the couch

There’s nothing quite like a nice and long sit down after a run. Well, that’s what I used to think. Research now suggests that people who spend the most of their day sitting down have an increased risk for certain types of cancers.

Previous studies highlighted the negative impact a sedentary lifestyle has on health, proving it causes problems such as blood clotting, heart diseases and poor physical functioning.

A new study narrowed in on 43 cases that specifically looked at the link between sitting and almost 70,000 cases of cancer. And, the findings were surprising.

The good news is their researched proved that being sedentary wasn’t linked to every type of cancer. Breast, testicular, ovarian or prostate, or cancers of the stomach or kidneys had no direct link to time in the chair.

Scientists did however find that those who spent the most time sat down during the day had a 24 percent increased risk of contracting colon cancer. As well as a heavy tie to endometrial cancers, also.

On further analysis, results showed that those who spent most of their time watching TV had a 54 percent increased risk of colon cancer.

Study author Daniel Schmid, an epidemiologist at Regensburg University in Germany; put this down to the unhealthy food and drink that tends to be consumed in front of the box.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, revealed that every two-hours of added sitting was linked to a staggering 8 percent increased risk of colon cancer, and further 10 percent increased risk of endometrial.

Now us runners are active, healthy and surely excusable from this study, right? I’m afraid not. The results suggest that those who partake in regular exercise still face the risk posed through too much time off their feet.

Dr. Graham Colditz, who is the associate director of prevention and control at Washington University’s Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, believes the findings hold some truth.

“High blood sugar and high insulin is a clear sort of pathway to colon cancer, and we know from intervention studies that walking lowers insulin and getting up after meals lowers blood sugar compared to sitting,” he said.

While the study can’t fully link time spent on your sofa to cancer, it’s something worth taking note of. If you spend hours at the desk, or in a car then steer clear of trouble and lace up running shoes.

Written by David Castle | 172 articles | View profile

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