Rush hour traffic is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you on your commute. Dozens or even hundreds of others around you, whether it’s in the morning or the evening, trying to get to work or getting home.

Your commute that’s normally around 20 minutes, expands to 40 or even 50 minutes, depending on the amount of traffic.

Ideally, you wouldn’t commute at all, but I know that’s probably not an option for most of you, but think about it if it is. Ask your employer if you could work from home one day a week. That would be a great start.

If there is no possibility for home office, you should think about if you can change the time of your commute. Depending on the city you are living, leaving 20 minutes earlier from home and  leaving 20 minutes earlier at work (or the other way around), could help you to avoid the worst part of the traffic.

If you have a fixed and inflexible schedule and you are predetermined to get stuck in traffic, you should make the best of your time there.

Based on research, there are many negative effects on your health and a good start it to get to know these.

  • According to research from University School of Medicine in St. Louis, driving more than 10 miles each morning, will increase your blood sugar levels. Higher blood sugar levels are associated with higher risk for diabetes.
  • The same study also found out that commuting on a regular basis increases your risk for depression (which is completely understandable).
  • Maybe one of the reasons for this is that commuting increases your stress and anxiety levels, according to the U.K.’s office of National Statistics.
  • Additionally to higher blood sugar, your blood pressure is rising as well, temporarily and in the long-term.

Unfortunately besides all those health threats, caused by commuting, usually most people combine three of the worst things for your health when commuting.

Those three things are sitting, stress and junk food.

When you commute, you sit down, at least when driving in a car. (How funny & healthy! would a stand-up car be?). According to research, sitting is the new smoking, since it increases the risk of death from all causes.

Every time you commute you add to your total sitting time as if we weren’t sitting enough all day long. At breakfast, in the office, in front of the TV.

As already mentioned your stress levels rise when you commute, especially when you are hit by traffic or standing in a traffic jam. When I was in such a situation I always stressed myself even more, because either, I needed to be somewhere or I wanted to be somewhere.

The third negative impact of commuting is that we tend to eat low-quality junk food in our car. Skipping breakfast to eat a bagel or a cookie in our car. Drive-ins have the sole purpose of feeding you in your car. As you already read before, junk food is really bad for you.

Steps to take:

What can you do, in case you can’t avoid commuting or rush hour traffic? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make the rule “Never eat in the car”. Eat your breakfast if you need and take your time. You’ll be stuck in traffic anyway, so you might even take the 10-15minutes to eat some breakfast with your family.
  2. Don’t stress yourself while driving. This is incredibly hard since humans tend to get aggressive as soon as the sit in a vehicle. Be mindful. If you’re stuck in traffic, worrying or getting angry won’t solve anything. Instead, do something funny or relaxing. Breathing exercises, coming up with ideas or listening to an audiobook/ relaxing music are good starting points.
  3. If you can walk, ride a bike or the public transport (standing up) to work. Reduce your total sitting time during the day. Walking to your office, while others are stuck in traffic is amazing. You might even be able to get some fresh air and some sunlight, both of which most people are depleted of.

In any case, try to avoid rush hour traffic and if you can’t do that, make the best your the time there.

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