Longer Commutes Lead To Higher Stress Levels, Poor Health


Commuting could lead to certain risks in health, especially in regard to stress, according to new research from a Canadian study.

Specifically, researchers found that people who spend more time commuting to and from work are less likely to be satisfied with life. Long journey times were also linked with an increased sense of time pressure and less time spent on hobbies or exercise.

“We found that the longer it takes someone to get to work, the lower their satisfaction with life in general,” Margo Hilbrechy, a professor at the university of Waterloo, said. “Some people may enjoy a commute, but overall, longer travel time is linked to feelings of time crunch, which can increase stress levels.”

Hilbrecht noted that bad traffic and delays are not always to blame. The professor also noted that long commute times can be counteracted. Those who had time for physical leisure, enjoyed flexible work hours and had a higher household income had higher life satisfaction than those who lacked those privileges.

In the past, long commute times have been linked to poor mental and physical health like hypertension, obesity, low energy and illness related work absences. Interestingly, women and those with a partner were found to have higher levels of time pressure than others.

“The message to employers is that encouraging flexible work hours or providing time for physical leisure can pay dividends in their employees’ satisfaction with life,” Hilbrecht said. “A long commute is detrimental to health.”

Hilbrecht noted that it might be better to take a job that pays less but is closer to home, if the choice is available. The professor added that the findings could contribute to programs and policies for better health for workers.

Source: DailyMail / Photo Credit: Flickr


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