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Commute Stress Hazards

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

Chances are that your daily commute to work is a bit of a hassle. Running to catch that bus or speeding up to make the yellow light can be mentally and physically exhausting. It can also lead to commuter stress. Experts report that commuter stress can have a hazardous impact on your health.

How Long is Your Commute?

Commute times vary depending on where you live in the U.S. In the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas, the average commute time is 27 minutes. But there are also many places where Americans have to deal with a much longer commute. In fact, nearly 10 percent of American workers have a commute that takes 60 minutes or longer and three percent of American workers have a commute that takes 90 minutes or longer.

Whether you spend 30 minutes on the subway or 90 minutes carpooling, commuter stress can negatively impact your health.

Listed below are just three ways in which commuter stress can affect your body.

  • Commuting stress can lead to road rage. Going to work can be stressful, especially if you have to drive. According to a CareerBuilder study, “58 percent of workers who drive to work said they experience road rage at times while traveling to and from the office.” Road rage can be particularly dangerous. It can lead to high blood pressure and unsafe driving practices such as speeding and running red lights.
  • Commuting can be a pain in the neck. According to a Gallup study, American workers with lengthy commutes are likely to have physical and emotional health conditions. In fact, one in three employees with a 90 minute or longer commute has recurrent neck or back pain. This is probably due to the fact that these workers are stuck in a car for so long and unable to stretch properly.
  • Overall, commuting can make you feel dissatisfied. According to a University of Waterloo study, the longer it takes a person to get to work, “the lower their satisfaction with life in general.” Once again this is because longer commutes mean less time for physical activities, which in turns lowers life satisfaction. Scheduling time for physical leisure can help people feel more satisfied even if they have a long commute.

Bonus. Want more tips on how to deal with commuter stress? Check out this video from the Mindful Living TV Network.

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