A new study has found that a longer work commute raises your stress and blood pressure levels, and could also be making you fat.
Researchers in the US found that people with commutes of more than 16km were registering higher blood pressure levels, and that commuters with average trips of more than 24km were more likely to be obese, reported the LA Times.
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The research was carried out by health scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who studied the commuting and lifestyle behaviours of 4,297 people in several metropolitan areas.
They found that 44.9 per cent of those with shorter commutes had elevated blood pressure levels. Blood pressure levels increased notably to 49 per cent for those travelling further than 16km, and jumped again to 52 per cent for a commute of 24km or longer.
Not surprisingly, those who had a longer distance to travel were also found to be more stressed, prone to eating fast food/car-snacking, and less likely to get enough exercise on a daily basis.
In fact, the study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also found 25.2 per cent of those commuting for distances longer than 24km were obese, compared with 18.2 per cent of people with short commutes.
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On average, Australians are taking longer to travel to work than a decade ago, and in conditions that are becoming increasingly congested.
A paper published by the Australia Institute revealed the mean time it takes people to travel to and from paid work is three hours and 37 minutes per week.
People living in Sydney have the longest average travel time, commuting four hours and 43 minutes each week on average. This is closely followed by Melbourne at four hours and 22 minutes, and Brisbane at three hours and 58 minutes.
It's not just our physical health that we need to be concerned about either. The paper's authors say longer commuting times are also taking a toll on our emotional wellbeing and interpersonal relationships.
Lengthy and unpredictable commuting journeys take a toll on individuals both physically and emotionally, write the authors.
"Commuting exacerbates the negative impacts of long work hours and work stress on people’s family lives and interpersonal relationships.
"They come home late, grumpy and worn-out, with little physical or emotional energy to participate in family life, friendships or other relational activities."
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