Healthier alternatives to work commutes

pic1Commuting to work is often one of the most exhausting activities people do, especially if work is far away. It’s important to consider alternatives or ways we can make travel better and less of a strain on our bodies.

Why commuting is bad for you

It’s not merely tedious but dangerous to your health to travel great distances, regularly. There are all sorts of negative effects this has on you body. From neck and back pains to other complications, we need to be aware of what it does to us.

Christine Hoehner and colleagues published a 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, on this issue. CNN reports: ,

Hoehner’s research … found that the longer people’s car commutes were, the more likely they were to have elevated blood pressure—even when she controlled for physical activity level. “That finding suggested that there’s something going on independent of the fact that people are less active, potentially something related to stress,” she says.

The point is, there are few good reasons other than necessity to travel great distances for work on a regular basis. If this is a fact that can’t be changed, then we need to take dramatic action.

Get fit

If possible, consider finding a healthier form of transport such as cycling. Get a new bike or do a shop for bike parts online to upgrade the one you never use. Cycling can provide enormous health benefits, unlike sitting in traffic or on a train.

As Bike Radar points out: “According to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves fitter. Studies from Purdue University in the US have shown that regular cycling – even as little as 20 miles a week – can cut your risk of heart disease by up to 50 percent.”

Cycling is also cheaper than owning a car. You don’t need to worry about petrol prices, expensive maintenance and other costs.

If cycling is too much, you should consider fitness at work. Don’t sit all day, but move around. If possible, do an hourly exercise to keep your heart going.

Being more fit in relation to your commute means you’ll be doing better work, too. You’ll be more fresh and ready to tackle the day’s challenges. After a long commute, you might feel too lethargic and not up to the task of trying to actually work at full capacity.

Alternatively, you could try negotiate a way to work from home, even if it’s occasionally. Though, here, this just means you take your lack of exercise home.