I read in the news today that researchers have recently discovered that having a desk job for more than a decade doubles the risk of developing lower bowel cancer and increases the risk of rectal cancer by 44%. Now I don't like to admit my age, but it will only be a couple more years before I'll fall into this category ... maybe time for that sabbatical trip round Latin America??
But then again the reason for this increased risk is due to physical inactivity during the day ... so given I'm a bit of a gym bunny I shouldn't have to worry?! Unfortunately this study concluded that no amount of physical activity could offset the harm done by spending long periods of time at a desk: ‘We found those who spent the most time in sedentary work had a risk of distal colon cancer that was twice that of those who spent the most time in a job requiring light activity. Even a high level of vigorous recreational physical activity did not modify the effect of sedentary work.’ So basically when it comes to colo-rectal cancer my intensive gym sessions aren't going to save me ... damn!
This is definitely bad news for city folk who spend way too much time chained to their desks, but this is a definite kick up the posterior to break that habit!! Time instead to get into the habit of getting up from the desk every hour and going for a quick walk - use the toilet or photocopier furthest from your desk, pop outside for a quick bit of freshair, or even just do a quick lap of the trading floor. This won't just get you moving, but will also keep your energy levels up and improve circulation.
On top of this it's important to minimize the other main lifestyle risk factors for colo-rectal cancers: diets high in saturated fat and red meat, low intake of fruit and veg and drinking alot of alcohol - but hopefully as regular NITC readers these are things you're already all doing :-)