Long commutes linked to poor health
Washington, D.C., United States (4E) – A new study finds that commuting more than 15 miles to work each day is linked to obesity, belly fat, high blood pressure and less exercise.
The study also found that workers who drive more than 10 miles every day also tend to have high blood pressure.
All of these risk factors increase a person’s chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, included some 4,200 adults who commuted to work in two Texas cities.
Researchers used satellite tracking to map the shortest road routes between workers’ homes and offices.
All participants took a treadmill test to measure how long and how hard they could exercise. The researchers then checked myriad indicators for heart disease and diabetes.
The study found that long commutes can take away from exercise time and are “associated with higher weight, lower fitness levels, and higher blood pressure,” all precursors for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
The study cannot prove that commutes directly cause those problems, and the researchers note that it could be that people who have long commutes are simply more apt to engage in other behaviors that put them at risk for weight gain and inactivity.
However, the researchers stress that of all the places we sit each day, for example in front of a computer, on the couch, or in bed, one of the most dangerous places in terms of health may just be the car. That is because there is really no easy way to interrupt it.
You cannot get up and stretch, walk around or take a break when driving.
A plethora of previous studies have shown that driving is stressful, which also taxes the heart and may result in other health ailments.
The study authors concluded that having a long commute is the “perfect storm” of things that are bad for the body.