Health Risks of Your Commute

bad commuteDeciding between an apartment close to work or a larger home with a commute? You may want to rethink choosing the extra space over the extra time. Recent studies have shown that longer commutes can have devastating effects, leading to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, marital issues, and even psychological problems.

A Swedish study conducted in 2011 by researchers at Umea University indicated that people who have longer commutes tend to be less physically active. Researchers found that people who commuted upwards of 30 miles were more likely to be obese and to have an unhealthy waistline. Blood pressure appeared to be even more sensitive to commuting distance, as people whose commute was just 20 miles round-trip has an increased risk of elevated blood pressure. What’s more, the study found that couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent more likely to divorce.

There are countless reasons why a shortened commute can have a positive effect on your overall well-being. However, if your morning commute is simply unavoidable, there are some measures you can take in order to battle these negative effects:

Rest your eyes- Many of today’s jobs require us to stare at a computer screen for hours on end. Take this period of time as a reprieve from your work responsibilities. Your eyes will benefit from the much-needed break.

Read a book – Have a list of books that you can’t seem to find the time to finish? Buy them on tape. Rather than sitting in silence or listening to music expand your mind and learn through a book on tape.

Work out – Your commute has been proven to add inches to your waistline. But what if you can ensure that this activity will have the opposite effect? Use this time to do some car-approved exercises such as steering wheel curls, tummy-toning breathing exercises, or side twists.

Carpool – Try taking public transportation and switch up your daily routine. This choice carries the health benefit of added walking as well as environmental and fiscal benefits.

Ultimately, a long commute creates a time pressure, leading us to have to make choices in which we sacrifice our health and relationships.  However, the certainty of your daily commute can also extend to the certainty of your daily walk.  Take it on a lunch break, or wake up early to fit it in before work. The added pressure of your commute necessitates your active effort to make time for the things that truly matter.

Wishing you a stress free commute from SelectQuote.

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