By Rod Gabriel, GetHealthAccess.com|
Did you know that commuting is bad for you? Yes, it is. Commuting can have physical and mental health implications, as well.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Commuting contributes to weight gain.
In a study released by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that the farther residents commute everyday, the more likely they are to be overweight. Commuters who travel longer than average were less likely to get the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
“It’s not so easy to move or change your job, so if you do have a long commute it’s important that you make a bigger effort to be active during the day. Take walking breaks, get up from your desk often, take the stairs, and make it a priority to exercise whenever you do have time.”, says Christine Hoehner, PhD.
It’s a good idea to try public transportation. Men and women who drove to work weighs about 6.6 and 5.5 pounds more, than their peers who walked, cycled or took trains or buses.
2. Commuting is literally a pain in the neck.
Thirty three percent (33%) of people, who commutes more than 90 minutes deal with neck and back pains, according to a report released by Gallup. Back pain is considered to be one of the most common health complaints, one in four people who commute 10 minutes or less reported pain in the report.
Long hours spent on sitting in the driver’s seat contributes to these issues. However, if the person makes an effort to sit-up straight, with a lumbar support behind the lower back, making sure that the person’s head is evenly over your shoulders, can help reverse bad habits.
3. Commuting affects the person’s mood.
In a 2014 study from the University of East Anglia, people who drove, carpooled, or took public transportation to work were less able to enjoy daily activities and had more trouble concentrating compared to walkers or cyclists.
More physical activity means better mental health scores. Well being scores decreased for car commuters as time spent behind the wheel increased.
4. Commuting stresses us out.
People whose trips last longer than 30 minutes had higher anxiety levels compared to people who made shorter trips.
Dr. Hoehner’s research found that the longer people’s car commutes were, the more likely they were to have elevated blood pressure—even when she controlled for physical activity level.
“That finding suggested that there’s something going on independent of the fact that people are less active, potentially something related to stress. One way to combat this could be for employers to allow people to commute at different times of the day, so they’re not spending so much time in traffic,” Hoehner adds.
5. Commuting exposes a person to pollution.
Driving with the windows up, using recirculated air, and driving slower than 20 miles per hour can reduce exposure to pollution,
Cycling to work increases exposure to pollutants, as well, but the same research also found that its health benefits of getting your heart rate up on your ride still outweigh its risks by at least nine times.