(The Gist of Science Reporter) Excessive Sitting and Cancer Risk in Times of COVID-19 Lockdowns

(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Excessive Sitting and Cancer Risk in Times of COVID-19 Lockdowns


Excessive Sitting and Cancer Risk in Times of COVID-19 Lockdowns

  • Prolonged sitting is known to cause a number of health problems like overweight, depression or anxiety, heart disease and even type II diabetes. 
  • But do you know that by sitting for several hours a day, you are putting your life at much higher risk? 
  • Even if you exercise daily, by sitting for several hours a day you may be putting your life at much higher risk.

Key findings:

  • It is believed that every year worldwide physical inactivity causes more than 3 million deaths that are preventable otherwise. It encompasses 6 percent of total deaths. Physical inactivity is the main cause for almost 27 per cent of diabetic cases. It also includes 30 per cent of total ischemic heart diseases.
  • Many young boys and girls today spend too much time playing online and offline games often giving rise to health issues. The problem has been further compounded with the extended lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. With much of the time spent inside homes studying, watching TV, reading, or even playing games – all the while sitting – there must be a heavy price to pay.

Excessive Sitting – The Link with Cancer:

  • Globally, the incidence and prevalence of cancer are increasing at a rapid rate, with an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases, and 9.6 million cancer-related deaths in 2018 as compared to 12.7 million cancer cases and 7.6 million deaths due to cancer in 2008. 
  • The reasons cited for the rising rates of cancer incidence and mortality include population growth, growing life-span and increasingly widespread lifestyle risk factors that are modifiable, like the use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol, unhealthy diet, as well as physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyle.
  • Several studies have shown that excessive sitting is bad for health and associated with a cluster of health ailments. These ailments include obesity and a group of conditions such as high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, excessive body fat around the waist as well as abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Now, what does sedentary behaviour actually mean? It is defined as any waking behaviour in which a person is sitting, reclining or just lying down and has an energy expenditure of less than or equal to 1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs). These sedentary behaviours are pervasive, which are accumulated throughout the week like in the evenings and weekends and across multiple domains like transport, leisure and occupation. These activities require minimal effort.

What can be done?

  • Humans are vertebrates with a vertebral column that stays in the right shape when we stand upright. Most of our organs work effectively when we are in an upright manner. For example, our bowel, our heart as well our cardiovascular system work efficiently when we are in an upright posture.
  • So, sitting for too long is not advisable. You need to exercise. Exercising here does not mean exercising hard. It just means taking a walk after every hour at least. This light activity throughout the day will help decrease the probability of cancer to a considerable amount.
  • Avoid online work or watching TV or playing online games for long hours. Be physically active. Engage in gardening or just have a walk, even if for short periods of time. Exercises at short intervals are highly recommended to reduce cancer risk. An additional 30 minutes of walk every day, instead of just sitting, lowers your risk of cancer by 31%.
  • So, remember to just get up and take a walk after short intervals. It will do you a world of good.



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Courtesy: Science Reporter