Are you one of those people who starts the day with an early morning jog before heading off to the 9 - 5 grind? If you've answered yes to this question, you might be surprised to read that you're still not exercising enough. According to research presented at the November 2011 meeting of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), even physically active Americans are at risk for cancer and other potentially deadly diseases.
Dr. Neville Owen, Head of Behavioral Epidemiology at Australia's Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, discussed the results of his research which suggests that physical inactivity takes a toll on the health of people whom, by most definitions, are generally considered physically active.
"In our studies, we've measured waist circumference, insulin resistance and inflammation - indicators of cancer risk common to many physical activity - cancer studies. We've found that breaks as short as one minute can lower these biomarkers." Neville Owen reported.
The researcher went on to discuss how most people spend the majority of the waking hours sitting down, which cuts down on the amount of physical activity that they participate in. These sedentary bouts increase cancer risk particularly among overweight and obese people whom are already fighting cancer. The issue is of such concern that Dr. Owen said:"Television viewing time, a sign of sedentary behavior, appears to increase subsequent risk of weight gain in cancer survivors."
Thirty Minutes Is Not Enough
Other experts echoed the need for more exercise. Alice Bender, spokesperson for the AICR said that a person getting thirty minutes of exercise is off to a good start "But what happens during the other 15 hours and 30 minutes he spends awake? If he's like most Americans, he sits - on his commute, at the office, and at home. So this person who fits the tradition of someone who's physically active is actually just active three percent of his waking day."
That's shocking because this describes the vast majority of the people who consider themselves to be physically active. When you consider that the overwhelming majority of Americans are overweight or obese (due to sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits), it means that most Americans are far less healthy than one would expect.
What's interesting is that the conclusions reached by the presenters at the AICR slightly contradicts the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations regarding physical exercise and cancer prevention.
Last February the Organization published its Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health wherein they suggest that 150 minutes of exercise per week could significantly reduce cancer risk (click on "Healthy Lifestyle May Prevent Cancer Deaths: WHO" to read more about this story). The guidelines are based on observations that showed a link between sedentary behaviors and increased risk for heart disease and cancer.
But who is right? The World Health Organization or the American Institute for Cancer Research? Both agree that people should participate in daily exercise. The AICR's Bender just extends that beyond the thirty minute minimum suggested by the WHO.
Indeed, most people don't realize the many opportunities they have for brief bouts of exercise throughout the day. During lunch and midday rest breaks, people can take a few minutes to performing body squats, dips or push ups. After this short exercise period, they can return to work, their bodies invigorated by the physical activity.
How many exercises can you fit into your workday?
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American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/press/press-releases/getting-up-from-your-desk.html
"Even Physically Active People Should Get More Exercise, Researchers Say" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.