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Long Commutes Equal Poor Health?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012No Commented
Categorized Under: Stress

If you have a long commute to work and back, your patience may not be the only thing that suffers; you may also be endangering your health. A recent investigation by Washington University in St. Louis into the health of drivers has revealed that those with longer commutes are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and even cancer.

The reasoning behind this data is that drivers who have longer commutes are spending more time sitting and less time exercising. Additionally, due to longer commutes, those drivers who do engage in exercise once they get off of work tend to spend less time on it and are less prone to rigorous exercises. The University’s research team believes that the concentration and stress involved in driving ends up stealing motivation, and by the time long-commute drivers arrive home for the day, they’re simply not in the mood to do anything except rest. This can then lead to unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

Long Commutes and Bad Health

The stress level that many long-commute drivers experience is also a factor in causing health problems. Stress has long been known to increase blood pressure and depression, but newer research has suggested that it can even cause cancer if left untreated. Stress is also involved in breaking down the body’s immune system, ultimately leading to more illness and disease. When you add in the fact that more drivers are on the road than ever before and interstates often have high speed limits, drivers who spend an increased amount of time on the road are setting themselves up for a daily stressful experience.

Finally, drivers who spend more time in their vehicles due to long commutes tend to have poor diets. This is because the time that would usually be spent at a breakfast or dinner table for a healthy meal is spent in the car. This then leads to unhealthier fast food options being the only choices available for a meal.

Washington University’s researchers recommend that those with long commutes try to find time to exercise when they can at work. This means taking a walk on a lunch break or taking the stairs whenever possible. Many experts also recommend cutting down on stress by taking natural stress-relieving supplements. In addition, drivers who don’t always have time for a healthy meal can take vitamin, mineral and nutrient supplements each day and replace sugary sodas with water.


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