Get up and stretch, because research says being immobile for long can increase your risk for cancer.
The study, published in JAMA Oncology, is the first to look at measures of sedentary behavior and cancer mortality. What researchers found is that replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with physical activity was associated with a 31 percent lower risk of cancer death.
"This is the first study that definitively shows a strong association between not moving and cancer death," said lead author and associate professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention Susan Gilchrist, M.D. "Our findings show that the amount of time a person spends sitting prior to a cancer diagnosis is predictive of time to cancer death."
Moderate-intensity activity such as cycling was found to be the most beneficial. And before you make any excuses, Gilchrist says even light-intensity activities such as walking helps too.
"Conversations with my patients always begin with why they don't have time to exercise," said Gilchrist, who leads MD Anderson's Healthy Heart Program. "I tell them to consider standing up for five minutes every hour at work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It might not sound like a lot, but this study tells us even light activity has cancer survival benefits."
One more piece of advice from the researchers? Sit less and move more. You'll generally feel better when you do.