Beat cancer in an hour a day
The ads say "Stand Up To Cancer" -- but if you really want to beat this disease, you need to do more than just stand up.
You need to stand up and move around, because too much time off your feet and in a seat is one of the major cancer risk factors. And now, two new studies show how getting up and getting some movement can help slash your risk of two leading killer cancers: breast cancer and colon cancer.
Ladies, you can start by going for a walk.
An hour-long stroll each day can cut your risk of breast cancer by 14 percent -- and if you up your game and get an hour of more strenuous activity, the risk falls by 25 percent, according to the new study of more than 73,000 postmenopausal women.
By "more strenuous" I don't mean running yourself ragged. Just a brisk walk, light jog or an hour of swimming or cycling will be enough to do the trick, according to the study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
While this study focused on women and breast cancer, being sedentary is one of the a major cancer factors in men and women alike. All that sitting around -- whether it's on the sofa in front of the TV or at a desk in front of a computer -- can lead to hormonal changes, especially changes in your sex hormones.
And that, in turn, can increase your risk of the cancers related to those hormones, including cancers of the breast, endometrium and ovaries in women and cancers of the testicles and prostate in men.
But as the second new study shows, being sedentary is also one of the major cancer risk factors for other types of disease -- especially colon cancer, and especially in men.
The two numbers you need to remember here are 7 and 11. Spend less than 7 hours a day in any kind of a seat -- at work and at home -- and your risk of colon polyps will drop.
But if you spend 11 hours or more a day parked in a seat, your risk of colon polyps jumps by 45 percent -- and that's true even if you spend a little time each day getting some exercise.
In other words, exercise alone can't undo the damage of a sedentary lifestyle. You need to do more -- you need to make sure you're not sedentary in the first place.
While the study didn't find the same colon risk for women, being sedentary can increase the risk of everything from other forms of cancer to diabetes to heart disease (and more) in both men and women.
And that means men and women alike need to be sure to get up and get moving throughout the day, every day.
That may seem tricky for some, especially if you work at a desk job. But it's not impossible. If you can't get up and walk around the block, at least get up and walk around the room.
Pacing might seem like a nervous habit -- but if that's your only option, it's a habit that could save your life.