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Long commutes contribute to weight gain and decreased fitness levels

When you’ve had to consider new residence prospects, what are some important aspects you consider? Security? Outside noise levels?

For me, it’s the apartment’s proximity to work on public transit, especially if I have to report to the office on the earlier side. Why? Because it’s a top priority for me to have at least an hour to wake up and go for a run before having to clean up and get going.

I’m starting a new job next week, which happened to coincide with my new apartment hunt after I decided not to renew the lease at my current, less-than-stellar apartment complex. The area I’m eyeing is not only adjacent to my favorite park in Houston, it’s a mere 10 minutes on the light rail to the new office.

Unlike my current job, the new gig likely won’t charge me an arm and leg to drive and park there when I need to, but I’m still going to avoid it as much as possible. I drove to one of my three interviews and the morning highway traffic stressed me out like whoa. Apparently that’s not the only negative aspect of sitting behind the wheel to get to work– according to a new study, people who drive long distances to work are more likely to be overweight and have unfavorable fitness levels than people who live closer to their jobs.

The study, carried out by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, was based on data from nearly 4,300 people in Texas (surprise, surprise) in or near two major cities, Dallas-Fort Worth — one of the top five most congested areas in the U.S. — and Austin.

Those who had to drive longer distances to work were found to have larger waist circumferences, lower cardiovascular fitness levels, as well as high body mass index and blood pressure levels. They also admitted to getting physical exercise far less often than people who drove shorter distances to their jobs each day. This isn’t all too surprising—we all know commuting in itself is exhausting and if you’re taking more than a couple of hours per day to drive from Point A to Point B and back again, you’ll likely be ready to crash before making exercise a priority at the end of the day.

Those who covered more than 15 miles to get to work were “less likely to meet recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity, and had a higher likelihood of obesity,” according to the findings.

The study linked commuting distances greater than 10 miles with high blood pressure.

So if you have control over it, pick a place to live that’s within reasonable distance of your workplace. Your waistline and your sanity will thank you!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.