Is your daily commute harming your health?

The daily commute to and from work can be incredibly tiring and frustrating, not to mention time-consuming. But could it also be harming your health?

Well, the research from numerous scientists and health experts from around the world certainly suggests so. From the hours of inactivity to the passive inhalation of vehicle exhaust fumes, your daily commute to and from work could be the most damaging aspect of your life as far as your health is concerned.

How is my commute damaging my health?

Millions of us commute to and from work every day. It can be a stressful experience with the average total commute being 56 minutes nationwide. However, in London we spend 1.5 hours commuting to and from work everyday.

Here are these commuting habits can harm your health:

Diet – If you’re out of the house early ready for your lengthy commute to work, and back late, it’s likely you are cutting time from somewhere. Often, it’s your diet that suffers. Evidence has shown that many people use their daily commute as a time to consume snacks, from unhealthy coffees and bacon sandwiches in the morning to chocolate, crisps and soft drinks laden with sugar in the evenings.

Mental health – An often under-estimate effect of a daily commute the damage it can do to someone’s mental health. Long term tiredness can make you feel stressed and irritable and the stresses of the journey can also have a toil on your mental health.

Exhaust fumes – There is evidence to suggest that you will breathe in more pollution sitting in a car during heavy traffic than you would if you are outside. Dirty exhaust fumes get sucked into the car through the air filters and get trapped in the car. The Royal College of Physicians state that pollution is responsible for 40,000 early deaths per year In the UK.

Wasted time – Finally, with so much time spent travelling to and from the workplace, it’s often exercising that is cut-back to allow time for the daily routine. Research has shown that those performing a daily commute to their workplace are likely to have a less active lifestyle away from the office.

Can I make my commute healthy?

We now know that our commute can be incredibly unhealthy for our body and mind, but what can we do about it?

Cycle or walk to work – This may not be an option for everyone, but if possible, why not explore the option of walking or cycling to work, certainly during the warmer months of the year. Many employers now offer a cycle to work scheme which can help cover some of the cost of buying a bicycle, for example, while many modern office blocks also have shower and changing facilities for staff that need them. So, if you’re within a reasonable distance of your workplace, leave the car at home and get your day off to a healthy start.