Couch Potatoes & Cancer

Occasionally I have to remind myself that I have gotten my money’s worth out of Netflix and I do not need to watch that next episode of the series after I just finished the last 3. Does that sound familiar? I think its’ called “The Netflix Marathon.”

I recently read an article by Robert Preidt of the HealthDay Reporter on the higher odds for certain cancers for those of us who are couch potatoes.  Kidney and bladder cancer have been added to the long list of why sitting on the sofa isn’t good for our health, according to a new study.

Inactivity was associated with a 73% increased risk of bladder cancer and a 77% increased risk of kidney cancer in the study.  Senior author Kirsten Moysich, a professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. is in hopes that these findings might motivate inactive people and encourage them to engage in some form of physical activity.

She isn’t suggesting running a marathon but to just do something!  Small adjustments include taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking the block a couple of times on your lunch hour or breaks, and parking your car away from the store entrance when you go to the supermarket or department store.

There were 160 kidney cancer patients, 208 bladder cancer patients and 766 people without cancer included in their study.  The cancer risks were similar no matter if people were obese or not.  This particular study was designed to show an actual association between a sedentary lifestyle and the risks of these cancers and can’t prove a cause and effect relationship.

The findings of this study show how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes getting and staying active, according to the study’s first author Rikki Cannioto, an assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park.  Around 150 minutes each week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services, as a way to generate significant and lasting health benefits.  Their study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

So, strive to get out there and take some time for that daily walk.  Even working around the house in the garden or cleaning house can reap some benefits for you.  Animals love those daily walks so increase that walk time each day or week until you receive some real benefits.  If you like using exercise equipment and have them in your home, that is great but not a necessity.  There are a million different activities that can do the same thing, just not quite as quickly.  Now is especially a great time to go to the park and walk through those gorgeous flowerbeds that line the walkway.  Enjoy nature at its best and reap the benefits!

Dr Fredda Branyon