Does Your Work Commute Affect Your Health?

Commute to work

For a few lucky people in the UK, they get to work from the joy and comfort of their own home. Sounds wonderful right? Unfortunately for the rest of us we have to make commutes to and from work up to 5 days a week, maybe even more if you have to work longer.

But how does this actually affect your work? A new report called Health in a Hurry by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has been released that specifically looks into the affects commuting has on health and wellbeing.

According to this report, over 24 million people in England and Wales commute to work every day. Unless you’re also lucky enough to live incredibly close and so are able to work or bicycle, this means cars, trains and buses.

Anyone who has had to use one of these forms of transportation can attest to experiencing frustration or stress. Traffic problems, inconsiderate drivers, late buses or trains, everything that a person cannot control themselves can lead to negative emotions.

So What Impact Does Travelling Have?

The Health in a Hurry report class’s trains, buses and cars as non-active travel and has found evidence that lengthy non-active commutes are having negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of workers. This can include an overall reduction in mental wellbeing and can also cause negative physical health changes such as raised blood pressure.

As well as this, commuting in general is increasing in recent years with an average commute being 56 minutes to and from work. This can mean that there is less time for people to engage in healthy activities such as physical activity in the gym, walking and much more. In fact 41 per cent of commuters said that their commute decrease the amount of time they spend physically active.

A previous article we’ve written indicates that the sedentary style of office working has negative impacts on health. Office lifestyle is also not geared towards encouraging exercise, so the increased commuting time can be a concern for physical health.

Another alarming statistic from this is that increased commuting is causing an increase in the consumption of fast food, in fact it has been found to cause a 29% increase. For people who are losing time to exercise and spend their working days sat down, this is bad news and encourages an unhealthy lifestyle.

The daily commute is a fact of life for some

The daily commute is a fact of life for some

What Can Be Done To Change This?

Ideally the best change would be to engage in an active commute such as walking or cycling to work, something that will give your body exercise that will both improve your work day and your health. For most people unfortunately, this is simply just not possible due to how far away their work is from their home.

If you simply cannot walk or cycle to work, there are small changes you could make to your commute or work day to encourage a healthier lifestyle. See if your workplace will allow you to work remotely, allowing you to work from home or a cafe close to your house.

Alternatively, avoid eating any unhealthy fast or junk food when you are going to and from work. A sausage roll or some fries might sound like the perfect thing at the time, but it’s not healthy and will not be helpful in the long run.

If you get the bus then it might be a simple solution to get off a few stops earlier and then walk the rest of the way to your place of work. This will help you to get some physical activity into your daily life while still allowing you to commute to your workplace.

Read The Full Report Here

Read the full report from the Royal Society for Public Health here to see their findings and also some of their calls to action.

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Sarah Jubb

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