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Fit Club: Getting active at work

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This desk has a treadmill instead of a chair. This desk has a treadmill instead of a chair.

Is technology responsible for the increasing obesity rates? From automated trash pickup to robots in manufacturing, technology has changed how people work.

In a newly released study, Pennington Center Scientist Timothy Church documented the significant consequence of a disturbing trend - not enough calorie-burning at work.

"Eighty percent of the workforce is in sedentary or close to sedentary jobs," said Church.

Many people now have desk jobs that require long hours in front of a computer. Bottom line is, the research shows the number of people who get at least a moderate amount of physical activity at work has plummeted 30 percent since the 60s. That amounts to "100 lost calories a day in energy expenditure," said Church.

In other words, workers are burning fewer calories and are getting fatter. This study shows it's largely to blame for the country's obesity epidemic and a record number of people with weight-related illnesses.

The findings could give more companies fresh incentive to help employees get more active, improve their health and lower what both pay for insurance.

This may be one solution - a desk that's also a treadmill. It allows you to actually walk at a slow, steady pace and burn calories while working.

"Well, I get up away from my desk and I can walk and exercise a little bit. I don't have sit there and get all fidgety all over the place," Duval said.

Researchers said the study's findings send a clear message.

"For the individual, this is a real powerful reminder YOU are not getting physical activity at work, you better find a way to get activity in your life," Church said.

Experts say physical activity is the one thing consistently shown to lower a person's risk of getting sick and to improve symptoms in many who already are.

If your work schedule and weather permits get up from your desk and on your feet for a walk on April 24, for National Walk at Lunch Day. Begin walking toward a healthier America and you!

Here are some other tricks for staying active at work:
-Taking the stairs.
-Parking farther away from the door. 
-Walking around the office when you can.

These tips are good places to start adding exercise into your workday.

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