March 24, 2022 — Cancer survivors who sit more than 8 hours a day are five times more likely to die in the following years than their peers who spend less time sitting. Physical activity, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of premature death, new research suggests.
Cao Cao and Dr. Lin Yang of Alberta Health Services, Canada, who conducted the study, tell WebMD it’s “worrisome” that so many cancer survivors lead a sedentary lifestyle.
The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors follow the same physical activity as a guide for the general population.This Target It is 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity (or a combination of these) per week.
“Meeting or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal,” Cao and Lin said.
However, in their study of more than 1,500 cancer survivors, more than half (57%) were inactive, reporting no weekly leisure time physical activity in the past week.
About 16 percent were “not enough” active, or got less than 150 minutes per week. At the same time, 28% remained active, getting more than 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
Digging deeper, the researchers found that more than a third of cancer survivors reported sitting 6 to 8 hours a day, and a quarter reported sitting more than 8 hours a day.
Over a nine-year period, 293 cancer survivors died — 114 from cancer, 41 from heart disease, and 138 from other causes.
After accounting for factors that may have affected the results, cancer survivors who were physically active had about a 65 percent lower risk of dying from any cause or cancer compared to their inactive peers.
Sitting for long periods of time is especially dangerous, according to a study American Medical Association Oncology.
Cancer survivors who sat more than 8 hours a day had almost twice the risk of dying from any cause and more than twice the risk of dying from cancer compared to cancer survivors who sat less than 4 hours a day.
Cancer survivors who sit for more than 8 hours a day and are inactive or not active enough are five times more likely to die from any cause or cancer.
“Move more and sit less, move more, move more,” Cao Yang suggested. “For most cancer survivors, avoiding prolonged sitting is critical to reducing the risk of excessive mortality.”