The way you commute to work every day has an effect on your mental and physical health. Having to constantly deal with stress on the way to and back from work every day is not ideal.
Given that the average commuter spends an hour every day getting to and from work, managing your commuting habits will make a full 1/24th of your life better.
According to a recent study of over 4,000 participants by the McGill University,
- Driving is often the most stressful and least healthy option available to the average commuter.
- In second place is public transport.
- And the least stressful and healthiest way to commute is walking.
People who drive to work and back every day tend to have higher blood pressure, increased heart rates and a generally lowered tolerance to frustration.
In a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the over 4,200 people surveyed helped back up these claims. Additionally, it showed that those who walked can decrease their body fat by a significant amount compared to those who drive every day. Metabolism and cholesterol levels are also able to be kept in check by cutting down on the frequency of your driving.
You are not the only one being negatively affected by your driving habits, however. Both your community and your relationship with others get some negative consequences from your habits. Social and economic affects of driving include an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, worse traffic, and higher community stress levels. Additionally, the more that people have to drive, the more areas that get taken up by roads.
In a recent study by the Environment and Behavior journal, excessive daily driving also harms the creation of what they refer to as “social capital.” This term refers to the ability for a community to build valuable social relationships and economical development. Simply put, the journal refers to social capital as “the glue that holds societies together and without which there can be no economic growth or human well-being.”
For those that have to remain driving at some points, it can be useful to find a way to do a community/shared commute. By having several people use one car to get back and forth every day, harmful emissions are cut down, and the ability for social capital to increase gets boosted.
The best way to benefit yourself and your community, however, is by switching to biking, walking, or public transportation for your daily commute. Doing so will increase your mood, boost your physical health, and benefit your community. Additionally, many studies suggest that your risk for cancer is significantly lowered by changing your commuting practices to these healthy alternatives.
Your body is designed to move, and by keeping that need out of your daily routine you are harming your ability to lead an excellent life.
Another benefit of cutting down on driving is the safety you gain in your day-to-day routine. Car accidents claim many lives every year. Those who commute by walking or biking or public transport, on the other hand, experience a much lower rate of accidents.