Is your life worth one minute of your time? Stand up while you’re reading the rest of this message.

More and more research is demonstrating how devastating it is to sit for extended periods of time. recently reported on findings that sitting for long stretches of time without getting up increases your cancer risk—particularly for breast and colon cancer.   “The longer you sit, the higher your risk,” says Neville Owen, Ph.D., the author of a recent study presented at the annual American Institute for Cancer Research meeting.  While getting regular exercise has been known to reduce the risk of certain cancers, now experts are adding the recommendation of avoiding prolonged periods of sitting.

The results are so convincing that the American Institute for Cancer Research now recommends that adult Americans who sit most of the day take one- or two-minute ”activity” breaks every hour.   This is what I’m telling everyone these days.  Not only will taking a break lead to physical health benefits, but it also helps you to be more productive and mentally alert.

Leslie Bernstein, PhD, professor and director of the division of cancer etiology at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California recommends the following for desk-bound office workers to avoid long periods of sitting.

  • Set the timer on your computer to alert you every 60 minutes to take a break. A short walk down the hall is enough.
  • Ask a colleague to walk with you to talk about a problem instead of sitting.
  • During a phone call in your office, stand up and walk around if possible.

It doesn’t take long, but you have to do it.  Isn’t your life worth it?  And, by the way, it is apparently not enough to wait and exercise at the end of the day.  You have to do both—exercise and take frequent breaks from sitting.

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