The average drive to work is fifty-one minutes round trip, USA Today reports and all those minutes are taking a real toll on our bodies.
A study by the UK's Office of National Statistics will probably make you want to hit the brakes on your commute.
The study shows that commuters have:
- lower life satisfaction
- a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile
- lower levels of happiness
- and higher anxiety on average than non-commuters.
Now for the really bad news for people who have a long drive to work, the most detrimental commute for our overall health lasts between 61-90 minutes.
However, people in the study who traveled three hours or more actually reported fewer negative health effects.
The most detrimental way to travel? Taking a bus lasting more than 30 minutes.
So what is all of this doing to our body? The magazine, Women's Health reports:
- anxiety increases
- blood sugar spikes temporarily
- blood pressure rises over time
- your cardiovascular health is lessened
- depression risk rises
- your back aches
- and your sleep suffers
Not a great list to hear but definitely something to be aware of and not surprisingly the impacts of stress and anxiety contribute to many of these health concerns.
So experts say the best thing we can do is leave ourselves more than enough time to get to work and avoid rush hour. Lessening our anxiety about the clock will help to lower the overall stress we feel when stuck on the road.
But leaving early is not always realistic, so if you are stuck in traffic and anxious, experts recommend taking your mind off it by listening to upbeat music or an audio book. A good book could help you decompress and may even give you something to look forward to while you are stuck in traffic.
Also, vary your route, it will make your drive more interesting and will help you get familiar with those alternative routes you might need in the event of bad traffic.
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