Office workers take note, sitting down for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing breast and colon cancer, according to a series of intensive medical studies.
The study results, presented at the American Institute of Cancer Research annual conference, showed a strong link between inactivity and unregulated cancer cell growth. Scientists believe that the findings are so significant, they could be linked to the cause of 92,000 cancer cases recorded each year.
In light of these study results, health experts are urging people to get off the sofa or office chair and become more active, by encouraging them to do two minutes of exercise for every hour they sit down per day.
The studies presented at the medical conference focused on breast and colon cancer. Researchers from Alberta Health Services Cancer Care in Canada found a profound link between active post-menopausal women and the decrease in cancer risks. Women who took a brisk walk each day reduced the development of key biological indicators in the body that trigger cancer risks. These include sex hormone levels, insulin resistance and body fat.
Another study found that office workers are the most sedate, as 75% of the average working day involves sitting down. Scientists further warned that even those who sit down for most of the day but exercise too, are also at risk of cancer.
"Sitting down is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right," says Neville Owen, who presented the conference. "It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk. This phenomenon isn't dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do."
With the average of 9.3 hours of the working day being spent sedentary (including commuting to work, walking to meetings etc), health experts are urging companies to introduce standing desks and meetings with standing breaks to help break the sitting pattern.
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