Study: Long Commutes Can Hurt Your Health; Affect Weight Gain

By Jacob Brown | May 10, 2012
Sitting in a long commute with hoards of traffic is probably bad for your blood pressure, sure. But a new study says it could also be a factor in poorer fitness levels and putting on the pounds. That news comes by way of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine which recently published the study suggesting people who live close to work are generally healthier. Surveying the heavily populated Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, areas, the study tracked 4,300 people. In its findings, people with longer commutes to work were found to have larger waists, less healthy hearts, higher blood pressure, and higher BMI. "Longer commuting distance may lead to a reduction in overall energy expenditure," Christine Hoehner of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, said. She led the study. The study found people who commuted 15 miles or more were less likely to get their recommended amounts of moderate or heavy physical activity. Those with 10-mile commutes or longer had higher blood pressure than normal, on average. As also noted in the study, those with longer commutes often did not go to the gym or get in some exercise as frequently as those with shorter commutes. However, Hoehner noted that the study did not include what the more sedentary set did in its free time. Automotive.com's take: Fancy that, your humble author here was in the same situation not too long ago, commuting more than 30 miles roundtrip in heavy Los Angeles traffic to and from work every day, so I speak on this topic with some experience. Now I commute six miles roundtrip. With less stress and less fatigue due to a shorter commute, it's a lot easier to get in some exercise and live healthier and still be home around dinnertime instead of a never-ending work-commute-dinner-sleep rinse, lather, repeat routine. The working world is filled with eight hours at a desk for most people followed by a lousy commute and an utter dissatisfaction with the lack of time to focus on personal health and well-being. But by cutting down the drive, it certainly makes the other parts of life that much more pleasant. If you can't do that, force yourself to reserve some time a few nights a week to exercise. It'll pay off in the long run. Source: New York Daily News
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