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Is a Long Commute Hazardous to Your Health?

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Commuting is a stressful daily activity for much of the American workforce and it is not something people enjoy doing. But it may be worse for you than you thought, since several factors involved in commuting contribute to poor health.

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at the commuting habits of workers in two Texas cities. Those who traveled more than 15 miles to work each day were more likely to be obese and carry fat around the belly, which leads to heart problems. They were also less likely to get exercise compared to those with a five-mile commute. Those who traveled more than 10 miles per day also had a tendency to have high blood pressure.

It appears that commuting eats time and energy and aggravates people.

Researches measured commutes, put the subjects on treadmill tests and then looked at blood sugar, cholesterol and energy levels and more.

“The study is the first to show that long commutes can take away from exercise and are associated with higher weight, lower fitness levels, and higher blood pressure. And all of these are strong predictors of [heart] disease, diabetes, and some cancers,” said researcher Christine M. Hoehner, PhD, MSPH, an assistant professor of public health sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The ultimate result is that commuting can cause stress and lead to bad eating behaviors, such as noshing on fast food picked up at gas stations while driving.

The suggestion to combat problems caused by commuting is to use the stairs and a pedometer, along with eating well and exercising to establish balance.

[WebMD]

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