The Dangers of Sitting All Day Just Got Even More Terrifying

by Sarah Burns
Originally Published: 

You already know exercise is good for you. The problem is trying to sneak it in the tight time you actually get for yourself. Because, let’s fact it, parenting can be downright punishing when it comes to self-care. And after a long day, what do you really want: a strenuous workout or a glass of wine? We all know the winner.

Add to that the time you physically spend weekly toiling away in your chair for a paycheck and well, you spent a lot of time sitting. Which can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. Spending too much time on your keister could kill you, expert say—and they’ve been saying it for a while now.

In recent years, a slew of studies has spotlighted sitting as a lifeshaver. Too much time on your bottom has been linked with increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke—and now female cancers.

That’s right, a new Swedish study suggests that too much time sitting could increase a woman’s risk of developing breast and endometrial cancer. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that sitting has been connected to cancer, but it is the first time women have been targeted so closely for this kind of study.

In the study, scientists followed 29,000 women (between the ages of 25 and 64) for 25 years. Women were divided into three groups: those who had a sedentary job (like working in an office) and did not participant in sports, those who had a sedentary job but did participate in sports, and those who had a physically active jobs that required more standing up (such as being a teacher) and also participated in sports.

Women who were not active (at the office or in their off-time) were 2.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer (a cancer in the lining of the uterus), and also 2.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause, compared with those who were active during these times.

So, what can you do to combat these risks? Do small things throughout the day to reduce siting time, such as getting up for coffee or walking to work, said Anna Johnsson, one of the authors of the study.

Take the stairs if you need to travel between floors at work, walk to the water cooler to stretch your legs every hour (so you don’t get too strung out on coffee), or actually get up and speak to the person you need to communicate with in your office instead of shooting them an e-mail. Why? Some experts have suggested that taking short breaks throughout the day to move around reduces levels of molecules in the blood that are linked to cancer risk.

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