UNDATED (CBS) -- Millions of Americans spend their work days parked behind a desk. In fact, studies show we sit for up to 11 hours a day. And all that sitting is taking a toll, contributing to chronic diseases.
As managing partner of a New York law firm, Keelin Kavanagh was often spending 15 hours a day at her desk. So last year, she got a new one. She says, "You can do almost anything while walking at the one mile per hour pace."
Kavanagh spent $1,500 on a treadmill desk. She reads, emails and talks on the phone, walking between one and two and a half miles an hour.
The American Heart Association recommends that we take 10,000 steps each day, which adds up to about five miles. That's a challenge when your job keeps you behind a desk
Cardiologist Alan Rozanski says it's critical to make the effort. He says, "Sitting all day, getting no physical activity is equivalent to smoking. It's that big a risk."
He uses a pedometer to count his own steps and says most of us should do the same because inactivity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Those warnings are creating more demand for tools like treadmill desks. Lifespan says sales have tripled in the last year to customers including Google and Nike.
Keelin Kavanagh bought a second one for employees like Naira Gorovits to share. She says, "It was very difficult to sit all day and I knew it was not good for my body. I just knew it."
She says walking keeps her fit and focused which is why doctors insist with or without a treadmill, it's worth going the extra mile.
If you don't have a treadmill at work, doctors suggest getting up from your desk every hour or so to move around or even take a standing break.