Reported by: Barbara Smith

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Doctor Elizabeth Joy is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Utah. She tells her patients they need to get up and moving. She says research recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows a thirty minute workout at the gym may not be enough to prolong life. “Time spent sitting was independently associated with a higher risk of mortality.”

Last fall Dr. Joy decided to take her own advice. “I have been walking at 1.2 miles an hour ever since then.” But what makes that unique is she is doing it at her desk. “I am actually walking the walk when it comes to promoting physical activity and promoting change in the culture of the workplace.” 

She says initially the Trek Desk, and her novel way of working on her computer, answering the phone, and sorting through paperwork caused more than a little curiosity among co-workers, who found their way to her office space. “I would hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down to see me on my Trek Desk.” But ultimately the important pitter patter is coming from her own feet. She says working while walking has changed her life. “I have more energy, particularly late in the day when we start to have the mid-afternoon slump.” Dr. Joy says it has also corrected aches and pains. “That tension that I had built up in my neck from sitting for hours with bad posture has completely resolved.”

Dr. Joy says she has also lost weight, and enjoys eating more food without gaining added pounds. She says walking slowly while working has become second nature and anybody could do it. “You don’t have to be particularly coordinated. You don’t sweat, it doesn’t elevate you heart rate, I don’t have on my special gym shoes, and it’s very comfortable.”

She says she is also comforted knowing that she is lowering her risk of chronic illness one step at a time.

Dr. Joy says her new moving workspace was purchased for a total of about $1,200 dollars. She says her co-workers are no longer curious, they are borrowing her desk while she is treating patients in her clinic.

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