Driving to and from work can be the worst part of your day. Just the thought of having to sit in bumper to bumper traffic is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure. Unfortunately, commuting to work isn’t only annoying, it can also have some serious effects on your health and family. The average commute to work can affect both your physical and mental health and put a big strain on your personal relationships.
Here are some of the major long term effects of commuting to work:
Commuting to work can take a toll on your mental health in several negative ways. No matter how long the commute, many feel at least SOME of the negative effects from driving to and from work. The longer the commute, the worse it can be. Examples include lower levels of happiness, increased anger, absenteeism, depression, high stress levels, and more.
Statistics Canada has reported that 36% of people with an average commute to work of 45 minutes feel that most days are extremely stressful. Stress can be exhausting, especially when it occurs every day. Chronic stress can lead to anger and depression, but it doesn’t stop at mental health issues – stress also has severe effects on physical health.
Commuting can also be very dangerous to your physical health. Part of the negative effects are due to sitting in one place for a long period of time, but a lot of it comes from chronic stress.
Sitting for long periods of time can result in back problems and also a drop in cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart as well as a healthy body weight. A long commute can often lead to cases of obesity and in some cases heart attacks.
A study of over 4,000 Texans found that the longer the commutes for participants, the higher their blood pressure. High blood pressure can have serious side effects if left unchecked. It’s a big risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. Finding alternative arrangements can go a long way in saving your physical health from the effects of a long commute.
A long commute to work is not only dangerous to your personal health, but it is also strenuous on your personal relationships. Marriages are especially at risk when it comes to one or both partners having a long commute. It has been reported that couples have a 40% higher chance of getting a divorce if one spouse has to commute more than 45 minutes. Driving to and from work in stop and go traffic can be very stressful and unfortunately this can take a toll on your home relationships. The more time you spend on the road, the less you get to actually spend with your family, which can create a rift in your relationships.
What You Can Do
The bad news is that commuting is and probably always will be a part of our society, but there are ways to lessen the toll a commute to work can have on you. For example, shorter commutes can significantly decrease the amount of stress someone may feel. For people with a commute of 15 minutes or less, only 23% felt stressed. Sitting in traffic for less time means that your cardiovascular fitness won’t be affected nearly as much. It is also important to incorporate a regular fitness routine into your schedule.
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