Ladies, sad news. Netflix binging is actually bad for your health. Not just because you’re idling around (even if it is totally and completely deserved AND IT IS) and not getting your exercise. New research shows that women who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher chance of getting cancer.
Specifically a type of cancer called “multiple myeloma” which is a cancer that forms in specific white bloods cells called plasma cells. Plasma cells are the cells that make the antibodies that help heal you when you’re sick. But it’s also been linked to breast and ovarian cancers.
In a really unfair twist, men don’t experience this increase in risk. Yep. Ladies, one more thing they can get away with that we can’t.
It also doesn’t seem to target a specific weight group either. So whether you’re skinny, or pleasantly plump, too much sitting increases your risk of cancer.
The research was conducted in a study that spanned from 1992 to 2009. It included 146, 000 men and women. The people chosen were all cancer free at the beginning of the study, but over the course of 17 years, almost 31, 000 participants developed cancer.
The researches adjusted the research adjusted for physical activity and weight and showed a link between time spent sitting and the 10% increase in the likelihood of getting cancer. Men didn’t have this link.
So sitting too much during your leisure time can lead to cancer. Too much Netflix, or even chilling with an excellent book, can be harmful. And it’s not linked to decreased exercise. The research left scientists puzzled.
Breast cancer specialist Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, “One would assume that women that exercise more have a decreased risk of breast cancer, but the study tried to control for this variable. It is unclear why leisure time spent sitting, if not a marker for decreased physical activity, would increase the risk of cancer.”
So it’s not that you’re not getting enough exercise, maybe you run for an hour a day, but sitting too much afterward can increase your risks of getting cancer.
The experiment was designed to compliment the fact that research has shown that less exercise links to cancer increase, but wasn’t meant to demonstrate cause and effect and has raised a lot of questions. A more definitive study would be required to explain the link.
Ways to Stop Sitting
So I was thinking about ways to sit less without it seeming like you’re ‘out to get exercise’.
Way number 1: Go out grocery shopping.
Yeah, it’s your least favorite task. But this is how it works in a lot of European countries. People only go out and buy food that they’re going to eat that night and for lunch the next day. Keep your breakfast foods on hand for your busy mornings, but try to go out and get groceries for dinner. You get to decide that night what you want to eat, seriously reduce the amount of food that’s going to go to waste, and walk around for a little while. Then you’re on your feet to make dinner. Lessening sitting time.
Way number 2: Get up at work.
I know that you work at a desk. It’s the worst. But get up every hour. Do a stretch. Got visit Julie in HR for a real quick catch up. Refill your water glass. Getting up for the bathroom? Take the long way.
In the long run, losing three to five minutes at work per hour is much better than the alternative.
Way number three: Get a dog.
Yeah, now you have an excuse. Get your headphones in your ears and take Best Friend for a walk. Instead of thinking what a drag it is to go out, watch her on the walk. If you’ve got a young pup, she’ll tear up and down, and sniff all the things. Let her zest for life infect you. Don’t become desensitized. Have an older dog? That slow, rolling pace that’s just a half step behind you is her being your best friend. Use the time to bond, to remind her you’re there and that being a dog is a good thing. Let that relaxation be another way to live your life.
Or, borrow a friend’s dog. Or teach your cat to walk on a leash (surprisingly easy!).
Way number four: Clean.
Yep. Just a quick blessing. We’re talking a quick sweep of your floors, make sure your kitchen sink is clean, wipe out toothpaste from the bathroom sink, make your bed, or do a bit of dusting. It’s a drag, but it decreases your cancer risk and keeps your house looking nice, so even if you have an unexpected sexy guest or your mum drops by, the house is presentable.
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