Suffering through a long commute to and from work may be more harmful than you think. Researchers from Brown University found that people who spend an hour commuting every day (30 minutes each way) often have less time for healthy behavior, and their overall well-being may suffer as a result.
The study was published this week in the Journal of Urban Health and looked at the responses of nearly 25,000 Americans who took part in the American Time Use Survey. Lead researcher Thomas J. Christian found people who spend an hour commuting every day get 30.6 percent less time to sleep, 16.1 percent less time to exercise and 5.8 percent less time to eat with their family. Given that these are all healthy behaviors, spending time stuck in traffic may be more than just an annoyance. There are some solutions, Christian says.
“People should recognize that long commutes may siphon time that could otherwise be spent on healthy activities, potentially [leading to] adverse health impacts,” he said in a statement. “Where possible, they might consider coping strategies to save time such as telecommuting, active commuting modes [walking or cycling], or even parking a bit farther away from their destination in order to walk for some additional physical activity.”
The news likely affects a large segment of the population. Although the average daily work commute is around 25.1 minutes, around 10 percent of the population spends 120 minutes a day commuting.
Not only are a number of people affected by the news, but it only adds to several other negative consequences of a long commute. A recent study out of the United Kingdom found commuters can suffer from extreme stress in the form of high blood pressure and elevated heart rate.