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Your Long Commute Saves You Money On Rent, But Is It Actually Killing You?

JANUARY 28, 2018  —  By Matt Davidson  
Matt Davidson

Matt Davidson

Writer and sassy ginger currently residing in central Pennsylvania. Matt spends most of his free time online shopping for clothing that he doesn't need, perfecting the art of eye-rolling, and indulging in all forms of pop culture.

Unless you're lucky enough to work from home like the ViralNova gang or live within walking distance from your place of employment, chances are you're more than used to the daily commute.

Whether you travel 15 minutes or nearly an hour to get to your job, anyone who's commuted knows that getting there is the real battle. It doesn't get any better when you have entire cities of people all trying to get to their respective jobs all at once (NYC, we're looking at you).

Battling the congested traffic and busy highways isn't all bad. I mean, after all, commuting does allow you to earn a living wage that allows you to pay your bills and allow for spending money when your home is somewhere with a lower cost of living. But what you might not know is that your daily commute could be putting a damper on your health.

In the U.S. the average commute to work one way has been on the rise the last few decades and has recently reached just over 30 minutes. Consider yourself lucky because for people in the U.K., average commute time is nearly double that.

And if you've read any of the multiple studies on the impact commuting has on our health, you're well aware that research has linked long commutes to higher rates of obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, higher blood pressure, neck and back pain.

But while many of us are faced with no other option but commuting, how you choose to get to work can make all the difference for your health.

According to a Canadian study of commuters from people who chose to walk, bike, or hop on a train had a greater life satisfaction than those that chose to drive or take the metro for longer periods.

A study in the U.K. generalized that people who choose to drive rather than taking public transportation can cause people to have a larger body mass index.

CNN even reports that U.K. commuters add nearly 800 calories to their diet because of commuting. Thirty-three percent of those polled reported increased snacking and 29 percent reported increased fast food consumption.

If forced to drive to work, try and carpool with a friend or two. Studies have shown that driving alone, left to your own thoughts and worries, can increase stress levels and overall anxiety. Nearly 80 percent of Americans make the journey to work by themselves, which could open many up to health risks.

Unsurprisingly, but terrifyingly, all of this can actually shorten a person's lifespan. But there's one key caveat and it has to do with your gender...

In a Swedish study, researchers concluded that women who have larger commutes have a significantly higher mortality risk than those with only minor commutes. However, for men, there was no significant difference in terms of commute time and mortality rates. Find out more about your commuting health below:


(via Vox and CNN)

Thank goodness all my jobs are either at home or within walking distance of my house. If I ever get a job that's further away, I'll definitely keep all of this in mind. How long is your daily commute?

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