Inactivity is a common problem in our culture. We sit at desks all day, watch too much television, and in general enjoy the luxuries of living in our modern times. A new study out of Cambridge University has called the lack of exercise a greater risk than obesity.

Why does this belong in a blog about GI health? That’s easy - many colorectal cancers have inactivity as a risk factor. An earlier study concluded that sitting all day raised your risk of colon cancer, even if you work out in the evening or on your lunch hour, and suggested that standing during regular intervals was as important as the visits to the gym.

In the Cambridge study, researchers found that people who exercised reduced their risk of death by 7.35% compared to just 3.66% the group whose BMI was under the obese level. The good news is that just 20 minutes of exercise makes a difference, but more is better. The recommendations were 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, in increments of at least 10 minutes per time. That’s just a brisk 30 minute walk, five times per week!

Sound doable? Be good to your heart and your colon - go for a walk!