This Article is About
health and fitness
body mass index bmi
body mass index
chronic stress
quitting your job
fitness levels
high blood pressure
heart problems
steering wheel
precious time
weight gain
New Study: Longer Commutes May Steal Health And Fitness
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New Study: Longer Commutes May Steal Health And Fitness

Anyone whose job is far from home knows the hassles of long commutes. Even traveling a few hours could be frustrating in the midst of traffic, plus the reality that there's not much to do during travel except wait, especially if you are the one driving your own vehicle (which is often the case). I'm sure at some point these long travels made us feel precious time being taken from us, especially if there arises a situation that needs our immediate presence.

In reality, long travels are part of daily routines for many of us. And a lot of commuters have found ways to get used to it. But research discovered that becoming obese is one major problem of commuters due to lack of physical activity and the stress involved during these long travels.

The problem

Based on a new study, daily long commutes may steal your health and fitness. Christine Hoehner, an investigator from Washington University, explained that long commutes can take away your time to exercise. People who take daily travels expose themselves to stress and may lose interest in exercise, which could lead to easy weight gain. Records show that the increase of workers (in the US) who commute using their private vehicles increased from 41 million to 112 million between 1960 to 2000. And the daily travel time and sitting behind the steering wheel became longer, too.

The following are findings of new study of scientists who gathered data from over 4,000 long commuters who described their activities for the last three months. What did the scientists discover? The long commutes didn’t only discourage the commuters from exercising, they also suffered the following problems:

  • increased chronic stress
  • weight gain
  • poor fitness levels
  • high blood pressure
  • poor cardio respiratory fitness (CRF)
  • increased body mass index (BMI)
  • increased belly fat

And these are great contributors to heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. Now, before you start to think of quitting your job and looking for one that is just around the corner or perhaps transfer and move closer to your workplace (which others don’t have the option), according to Hoehner, there are solutions that can lead to more exercise.

The solution

The commuters should find ways to apply physical activity, like walking or performing short exercises during work breaks. If you need a little help in deciding what short exercises to apply during work breaks, a good option is trying a simple but complete fitness program. The new trend of fitness programs today are shorter but more effective workouts and a lot of natural fat-burning foods, that are useful to people with time-crunched schedules.

Moreover, the employers can also help their employees in this problem, by giving them time to exercise in the office. A healthy employee can always deliver more accomplishments than one who has become sickly due to lack of exercise as a result of too much daily long commutes.


Street Talk

Great info here Lemuel! Thanks

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks Wayne.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Andrew B  

I can related to this article. At one point in my life, I was commuting 2.5 hrs a day (1.25 hrs each direction) 5 days a week for work. I did the math, and it came to about 2.5 DAYS in the car in a typical month! I went to the gym so I didn't get bloated, but all that sitting did give me some back and shoulder problems.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Yeah, long commutes are awful. I actually wrote an article in my attempt to help commuters do something to their health - I named the article "How to lose belly fat while driving".

Reply
  about 7 years ago

This can work both ways though. We live out in the middle of some of the most beautiful countryside on the planet, and the wind down on the way to the homestead is next to none.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Yeah, this is something that the long commuters enjoy oftentimes. The splendor of nature can always activate the brain's reward center giving us good feelings.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
C4rmen  

Even the word 'commute' has such negative connotations in the lives of many around the world. I am blessed that I only live 7 kilometres from my work so starting next Tuesday both my partner and I will be walking to work 2 days a week. It will only take 45 mins (we have done it a few times before) Oh and whenever I remember, I will do my stomach vacuuming :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hi Carmen. It's nice to know how well you incorporate exercise with your daily routine. A 7 kilometer walk is good for your health, while you enjoy the company of your partner. :) And stomach vacuuming is a very effective exercise while driving.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

I'm a firm believer in working from home, but even that can be a trap if you don't get up once in a while and move around, and not to the fridge. You have to exercise, not an option. You can hurt yourself sitting at a computer for hours on end. I don't know how people commute long distances. Audio books will sure keep your mind happy if you have to drive a distance. Flying a distance is another issue. Thanks Lemuel. Thoughtful.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

You're welcome, Joan. Yes, sitting all day in front of the computer is also like having a long commute. We need to move around also but not towards the fridge because it's where the food is. :) All of us need to exercise.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I used to commute an hour plus each way and it was very stressful. My work kept me very active so weight wasn't the problem. I sure was happy to see it come to an end. Thanks for a great article

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, John. Yeah, work which involves physical activity will combat the stress of long commutes.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Lemuel, great article. Thanks! Your suggestion of short exercises during work breaks is a good point. Sitting on long commutes makes sens for having increased belly fat -- long commutes don't leave much time for exercise except at the expense of sleep, do they? I've been fortunate in that I simply pick up and move rather than commute.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, Cynthia. I'm happy to hear you don't take daily long commutes. And yes, at the end of the day with too much stress, a tired commuter would easily go to sleep and say goodbye to exercise. Their best bet is to take short exercises in the office.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks. Exercising during the day is important for all of us. Thanks for sharing!

  
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

very nice article; i agree with it

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, Barbara.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good article Lemuel. I had to drive one hour to go to work and one to come back. Really awful! Until I discovered audiobooks. They kept me calm all the way and I was really happy listening to the book I didn't have the time to read.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hi Maria. I'm glad you've discovered audiobooks - they are great! And Yes, it's really important to have something to combat stress during travels, because stress makes people tired.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good idea! Audio books can become like a library or even a degree when you've got a morning and an evening hour five days a week for years. Happy driving...

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hi Cynthia! Honestly you have no idea how many I have read that way since I discovered them. Two hour a day is really much time and I wouldn' t be able to find it otherwise. And the most important think is that I can drive without being angry because of the traffic or the noise or because I am tired. Try it

  
  about 7 years ago
C4rmen  

I've just discovered making my own audio recordings of my goals and positive quotes. Its a really great way to start the day.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you Lemuel. I've done long commutes to work before, I can definitely say it increases your stress levels.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

You're welcome, Penny. I hope all commuters will become aware of this new problem. Adding a little exercise during coffee break would be great.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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