Special Report: Walking in the workplace could add years to your life

CREATED Feb. 4, 2014

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NAPLES, Fla. - Many times we find ourselves too tired in the morning and too exhausted after a day of work to get exercise.

Research suggests that may be a deadly decision. 

Four in Your Corner's Kelli Stegeman brings us this special report on a Naples man who is getting inventive and putting the work in workout.

“I’m the butt of many jokes,” laughed Dr. Ron Garry. But he is the one having the last laugh.

The Naples doctor is taking a big step toward better health.

“When you actually count how far you walk it's astonishing how little we do,” Dr. Garry said.

Six months ago he bought a treadmill desk from the company Smartdesk. He believes this machine could be saving his life. 

His inspiration came from a study likened sitting for much of the day to smoking a pack of cigarettes.

“It’s a left hook,” he said, describing the study. “It took my breath away.”

At first, the new desk took some getting used to, he know gets 6 to 8 miles a day while working.

And while he may have started off slow, there’s nothing slow about the results he’s seeing.

Dr. Garry is losing weight, his posture is improving and the long term is just as promising. 

“The literature is incredible, with decreased incidents in stroke, heart attack and actually improved cognition,” he said.

Compare that to sitting for long periods of time. That can raise your blood pressure and blood sugar and leads to cardiovascular health diseases.

Dr. Andrew Singh works for the Lee Memorial Health System. His job is to help make business healthier. He says more people should be thinking of integrating exercise in the workplace.

“It’s a sexy idea,” said Dr. Singh. “Not only can you improve the health of your employees, you can have employees more productive, you can have happier employees.”

Not to mention, increase your company's bottom line. 

“If they invest $1 into a workplace wellness program, they will reap benefits of over $3 back in terms of medical costs and indirect medical costs,” Dr. Singh explained.

Like anything, there can be some health risks when starting something new like a treadmill desk.

Experts say to make sure your heart is healthy enough to exercise and start slow.