Staying fit at work harder than ever

By Matt Porter

May 20, 2013 Updated May 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Legal secretary Ashley Bowman spends most of her day tied to a chair in a cubicle not much bigger than a walk-in closet.

She doesn't have time to go to the gym at work, so instead, she and five co-workers pound the pavement.

They take five laps in the parking lot three times a day. Five laps equal a mile. Bowman and company walk at least three miles a day.

"I actually came from a job where I worked 12 hours a day on my feet, so going to a job where I sat all the time was quite a change," Bowman said.

A new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index shows one in four U.S. workers are overweight.

The main reason: Lack of exercise.

She and her co-workers said their daily walks not only help them feel good, it makes them more productive.

"It's tempting to just sit still and allow you to get out of shape," Bowman said, "But I think it's important to literally to take that first step and get moving."

The Gallup report ranked types of jobs and their relation to obesity.

Bus drivers and other transportation workers topped the list with 36.4 percent of workers being obese, while doctors appeared to be the fittest, with only a 14 percent obesity rate.

The study says the more you sit, the more likely you will be overweight.

Kelsey Newman, a personal trainer for Positive Life Force in Endwell, said the human body was not meant to sit for eight hours a day.

She recommends getting out of the chair each hour, even if it's just a short two minute walk or stretch.

"It is going to be really beneficial for the muscles, get the body moving," Newman said, "It will elevate your mood and make you more alert and aware while you're doing your work."

Exercising three or more days a week will greatly reduce chances of becoming obese, according to the report.

Newman says you can turn the chair problem into a solution by doing exercises right from your desk.

And if it's a sunny day, you can always take a walk around the parking lot, like Ashley Bowman.

"It kind of rejuvenates us for the rest of the day" Bowman said, "And gives us that extra pump that we need."

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