Don’t Sit Yourself to Death

Did the title get your attention? I hope so. Most of us know that prolonged sitting isn’t great for our backs, shoulders, necks and wrists. But did you know that prolonged sitting can dramatically increase your risk of cancer?

More than 90,000 new cancer cases a year in the United States may be due to physical inactivity and prolonged periods of sitting, a new analysis shows.

The analysis, being presented today at the annual conference of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) in Washington, D.C., cites about 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer.

“This gives us some idea of the cancers we could prevent by getting people to be more active,” says epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada. Calculations are based on U.S. physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics. “This is a conservative estimate,” she says. “The more physical activity you do, the lower your risk of these cancers.”

This is from an article in USA Today that was reposted by the folks at LifeExtension. You can read the article here.

Pete Egoscue’s first book is titled “The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion”. Those last 3 words are key: health through motion. Folks, if you are not moving, you are dying. Literally. If you have a desk job, like I used to in a previous professional life, you have GOT to get your butt up and out of the chair at regular intervals. I’ve had people tell me “but I’m too busy, I can’t take a 5-10 minute walking and exercise break every couple of hours, I just don’t have the time.”

oh really?

I’ve got news for you. If you are plunked down at your work station for hours at a time without breaks and you think you are just a gusher of creativity and productivity, you’re wrong. Well, let me put it this way, you may be doing great work, but I GUARANTEE that if you take a 5 minute motion break every hour, your productivity and creativity will increase, not decrease. You will be more creative, more productive, you will get more done and the work you get done will be of higher quality. I challenge you, do it for a week. Set up a timer at your work station. Maybe it’s your phone, maybe it’s something on your computer, but have it go off no less than every hour. Then stand up, walk around, go to the bathroom, get some water, and if you’re an Egoscue client, ask your therapist for 1 or 2 ecises you can do during this short break. I promise you, at the end of the day you’ll have gotten MORE done, and you’ll feel much better. And you’ll have decreased your risk of some serious health risks.

One researcher calls it “Sitting Disease”: Patel and others also have investigated the health dangers of sitting too long without moving around, which is called “sitting disease.”

In a study of 123,000 people, she found that the more time people spent sitting, the higher their risk of dying early. “Even among individuals who were regularly active, the risk of dying prematurely was higher among those who spent more time sitting,” she says.

Even if you are doing half an hour of aerobic activity a day, you need to make sure you don’t sit the rest of the day, Patel says. “You have to get up and take breaks from sitting.”

This isn’t about just managing pain. This is about maintaining a high quality of life and the very core of your health. If you have a desk job, or if you sit for extended periods at home, GET UP AND MOVE! Your very life may depend on it!

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3 Comments on “Don’t Sit Yourself to Death”

  1. Kyle Hanan Says:

    Awesome stuff, man we’re so on the same wavelength right now! I just had a discussion with John about this study after I read it this week. I’ve been referencing your “aging is a habit” article to so many people lately.

  2. Debbie T. Says:

    This information is so timely, I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer of the spine, lower lumbar. Although and active man, he has been confined to a wheelchair for many years. He continued to complain about pain to his doctor but was told that they were normal for wheelchair patients. He decided to consult another physician. Unfortunately the diagnosis was not good because the cancer had advanced to stage 4.
    My 25 year old daughter is also confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury from an accident five years ago. I stress the importance of using her stander, a device designed for stationary standing to provide weight bearing on the bones and minimize atrophy. She has physical therapy 3 times a week and tries to swim about 3 times a week. Her injury is at T3-T4.
    Of course this is not a common scenario for the majority of the population, but there is a large wheelchair bound community, 1.5 million manuel wheelchair users in the US alone.
    With the growing number of geriatrics, I’m sure the number of wheelchair bound patients will only continue to grow.
    Do you have any recommendations for ecises that could be incorporated for wheelchair patient?
    Debbie T.
    I have always enjoyed your programs when I can catch them.

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