Longer commutes may steal health and fitness
May 8th, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Longer commutes may steal health and fitness

Anybody who has a long daily commute knows the frustration of sitting in traffic with nothing to do but wait. Now, a study suggests that long commutes can take away more than just precious time - they also negatively impact your fitness and health.

Previous research has linked longer commutes with obesity. But this new research is believed to be "the first study to show that long commutes can take away from exercise time,” explained lead investigator Christine M. Hoehner of Washington University in St. Louis.

Long commutes are associated with "higher weight, lower fitness levels and higher blood pressure, all of which are strong predictors of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers,” she said.

One discovery that Hoehner found a little surprising was how “being exposed to the daily hassles of traffic can lead to higher chronic stress and higher blood pressure.”

Here's how the research was conducted: Scientists studied 4,297 residents from the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, metropolitan areas. They documented their commuting distances, body mass indices, and metabolic risk, including waist circumference, fasting glucose and lipid levels and blood pressure. Participants reported their physical activity for the previous three months.

What did scientists learn?  Commuters who said they drove longer distances also reported they took part in less moderate or vigorous physical activity. They had lower cardiorespiratory fitness, greater body mass index, waist circumference, and higher blood pressure.

For a little historical perspective - as obesity rates have increased - so have the number of American commuters and the length of commute times.

Between 1960 and 2000, workers commuting in private vehicles jumped from 41.4 million to 112.7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And as suburbs have sprawled across the nation since the 1950s, commuter miles have increased too, along with the time drivers spend sitting behind the wheel. according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For many commuters, moving closer to work isn't an option but Hoehner said there are solutions that can lead to more exercise.

Commuters should find ways to work physical activity into their work days said Hoehner, by doing things like walking during work breaks. Employers could also help, she said, by encouraging fitness break and by offering schedule flexibility to commuters, if possible.

soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. bitcoin to paypal

    Transfer from bitcoin to paypal very fast and low cost.


    December 15, 2020 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Oliva Colletti

    hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.


    December 20, 2020 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. zortilo nrel

    hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you update this again very soon..


    December 26, 2020 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 스포츠에 베팅

    Best view i have ever seen !


    January 3, 2021 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Karissa Mazzuca

    If you would like to improve your experience simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the most up-to-date gossip posted here.


    January 3, 2021 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 스포츠에 베팅

    Best view i have ever seen !


    January 5, 2021 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Frida Kuszynski

    Interested in more information. How can I contact you?


    January 5, 2021 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Freebies

    I was just searching for this info for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your site. I wonder what's the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative websites in top of the list. Normally the top web sites are full of garbage.


    January 6, 2021 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Best Hairstyles

    Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!


    January 6, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sid Leuck

    Interested in more information. How can I contact you?


    January 7, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to Rob


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.