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Sitting too much could boost cancer risk

More bad news for office dwellers: a new study announced Thursday reveals that too much sitting can raise your risk of cancer. Even if you get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, you still have a higher risk of developing cancer if you're deskbound most of the day, researchers say.



Reported in MyHealthNewsDaily on Thursday, the new study was presented at this week's American Institute for Cancer Research conference.

Researcher Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada, revealed that sedentary lifestyles could be linked to as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer a year in the US. Sitting also contributes to lung, prostate, endometrial, and ovarian cancers, with researchers noting that they could be "prevented" if people were more physically active.

The new study adds to growing scientific research suggesting that sitting can raise your risks for a host of problems, including obesity and diabetes -- this is especially true if you spend time outside of work lounging in front of the television or commuting. In one study, researchers found that people who spend more than two hours per day of leisure time watching television or sitting in front of a screen face double the risk of heart disease.

The good news is that you can lessen your risks for cancer and other diseases by taking frequent breaks from sitting with just a few minutes of light exercise, noted the researchers. Take micro-breaks every hour when at your desk at work, suggested the American Institute for Cancer Research. Get up, move around, or at least move your shoulders and take deep breaths to relieve muscle tension every 20 or 30 minutes.

Other ideas to get moving include standing up to take phone calls, walking to see a colleague rather than emailing, and taking the stairs instead of the lift where possible. Also try keeping light hand weights at your desk to use while reading email or talking on the phone.

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