Cancer death risk skyrockets in people who are often sedentary

Many people find it hard to get adequate activity — time spent sitting on transportation, sitting at the office, sitting at appointments, and sitting at home add up, after all. Many studies have linked sedentary behaviors to various health issues, including the risk of developing cancer and premature death. A new study has found that in the people who are most sedentary, the cancer death risk skyrockets.

According to a new study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, sedentary behavior has been independently linked to cancer death risk. In the cases of people who are most sedentary, the study found that their risk of dying from cancer was a massive 82-percent higher when compared to people who are the least sedentary.

The study involves participants who wore an accelerometer, meaning the data wasn't limited to self-reported — and therefore likely inaccurate — information. The good news is that it isn't difficult to decrease this risk; the researchers found that it only took 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity to decrease the risk to 31-percent.

Moderate-intensity exercise includes things like riding a bike. In comparison, a light-intensity activity like walking only decreased the risk by 8-percent. Despite that, even small amounts of activity can be an important way to increase one's odds of surviving cancer.

The study's lead author Susan Gilchrist, MD, said:

Our findings reinforce that it's important to 'sit less and move more' and that incorporating 30 minutes of movement into your daily life can help reduce your risk of death from cancer. Our next step is to investigate how objectively measured sedentary behavior impacts site-specific cancer incidence and if gender and race play a role.