A sedentary lifestyle is basically a lifestyle where a person spends most of his/her time in one comfortable position
A sedentary lifestyle is basically a lifestyle where a person spends most of his/her time in one comfortable position and does not indulge in much physical activity. Medical experts claim that this kind of lifestyle has many sorts of health risks in general and increasing cancer cases are also reported which originate due to a sedentary lifestyle. In the past decade, the cases of obesity-related cancer have been on the rise and sitting, reclining, and lying down for hours at stretch is a new carcinogen, according to experts.
“World over incidence of cancer is increasing at an alarming rate. We all need to identify where in our lifestyles we are going wrong and correct it to prevent cancers in our present and future generations. An estimated 30-40% of cancers can be prevented through changes in modifiable lifestyle and environmental risk factors. We know for several years that consumption of tobacco either by chewing or smoking, alcohol and some viral infections are known risk factors for cancer. Recent studies have shown that physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle and obesity are also emerging high risk lifestyle factors for cancers,” says Dr. Vineeta Goel – Director and HOD – Radiation Oncology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.
According to many studies, risks of cancers like breast, colon (intestine), uterus, ovary, prostate, esophagus (food pipe), stomach and bladder can be reduced with higher level of physical activity.
“In the past 30–40 years, three main modifiable factors have emerged that are associated with an increased risk of cancer: physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, and overweight or obesity. The incidence of obesity-related cancers is critically affected by dietary composition, physical activity, and sedentary practices. A key and effective measure in the prevention of cancer is to reduce the exposure to modifiable causes of cancer, such as physical inactivity,” says Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Surgical Oncologist, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.
It is very important to maintain optimum body mass index (BMI)/weight to reduce the risk of cancer and avoid the re-occurrence of cancer in survivors.
“Exercise has many positive biological effects on the body, some of which have been proposed to explain associations with specific cancers. These include lowering the levels of certain hormones (estrogen, growth factors, insulin ), reducing inflammation, improving immune system function, reducing transit time for food to travel through intestine and helping to keep a check on weight preventing obesity which has a direct link in development of many cancers,” says Dr Kumar.