Walking While Working

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(Memphis) From making phone calls to taking notes, one nonprofit vice president always goes the extra mile at work.

She does it all from her treadmill desk at her office in Midtown.

"On many of my business calls I’ll tell people especially conference calls, listen I’m going to be on my treadmill, and at the end of the call I’ll tell them how far I walked and I’ll ask them what they did during the call,” Teresa Barnes said.

Barnes even does research and checks email while walking about two miles per hour.

“On average I would spend an hour at the gym so now I’m spending more time being active than i was when i was doing marathons although not quite the same intensity,” she said.

This new mom says fitting in gym time's nearly impossible, and now she gets in three hours a day of physical activity.

“I think that I like my work better because I’m physically active and I think you just feel better about yourself,” she said.

The American Heart Association recommends that we take 10,000 steps each day. That adds up to about five miles. That’s a challenge when your job keeps you behind your desk.

"People will have a desk job and they really don’t get up, or they’re greatest physical activity is from the car to the desk, the desk to the cafeteria area and back and the desk to the vending machine in back,” Cardiologist Dr. Daniel Otten with Stern said.

Dr. Otten said it’s vital we make the effort.

"We talk about high cholesterol or smoking sedentary lifestyle. I think it’s fair to say I think all of these fit similarly kind of risk category,” he said.

He added a sedentary lifestyle is defined as moving less than 25 minutes a day, and inactivity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, or even death.

"Theres an increase risk of heart attack compared to those who don’t have a sedentary lifestyle,” he said.

Those warnings helped create more demand for tools like treadmill desks. Even companies like Google and Nike took steps and bought them so employees can walk and work.

"I think more and more offices should try and think about trying this out,” Otten said.

Teresa Barnes is glad she did and knows with every step her work becomes more productive.

"You don't even have to think about it. You do your job. You probably do it a little bit better. You certainly do it a little bit happier,” she said.

The treadmill desks cost about $1,500.