Feature

Health scare of the week: How chairs cause cancer

The American Institute of Cancer Research says it’s crucial for adults get up and move at least once an hour.

Sitting still for long stretches of time—at work, in the car, or at home—increases your cancer risk, even if you exercise regularly, WebMD.com reports. New research shows that as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer could be prevented in the U.S. each year if people simply stood up more often. “It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk,” says Neville Owen, a researcher at Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, but “even breaks as short as one minute” can lower it. The research supports a previous 14-year study that found that six hours of sitting a day increased a woman’s odds of dying in that period by 37 percent, and a man’s by 18 percent, compared with people who sat for half that time.

Adults today are immobile for more than nine hours a day on average. Even if you hit the gym, the American Institute of Cancer Research now says, it’s crucial that you get up and move at least once an hour—by pacing during phone calls, visiting the water cooler, or going to talk to a colleague in person instead of sending an email.

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