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  • This is my morning commute.

  • I get up, get ready, get in a car, drive to the train station, look for parking, get on a train for an hour and a half, arrive at Penn Station, get another train, walk five minutes, and start my work day.

  • Is this killing me?

  • Before you go and post that comment telling me to move closer, you need to see that I'm not the only person doing this.

  • This is the train station I commute from.

  • This place is huge and yet it's full almost every single day.

  • Just this past fall they had to rip out an entire section of trees to make more space for parking and it's still not always enough.

  • According to US census data, the average American commute is nearly 30 minutes one way, a number that's been on the rise for the last few decades.

  • In general, people are choosing to commute further and farther than ever before.

  • And those long grueling hours in cars, on trains, or buses can take a toll on a person's health.

  • Especially when we all hate it so very, very, much.

  • If you commute or you've been on the internet at all, you've seen the articles and maybe you've read the studies.

  • Commuting has been linked to higher rates of obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, higher blood pressure, higher rates of divorce, neck and back problems, shorter lifespans, and you get the point.

  • Commuting long distances just isn't good for you.

  • But a lot of it comes down to how you do it.

  • For example, a Canadian study of commuters in Montreal found that people who walk, bike, or hop on a train had a higher life satisfaction than those with comparable commute times on other types of transit.

  • In another study, British researchers found that people who drive to work instead of using public transportation are more likely to be obese.

  • Sitting in a car all day really adds the negative effects of an inactive lifestyle.

  • You're sitting for hours on it and when all is said and done, it's really hard to find the time or the motivation to exercise. And that's not it.

  • Research has shown that driving alone in particular can make you more miserable.

  • You're alone with your thoughts for hours, often in frustrating situations, so it's not really surprising that this is the disaster for both your mental and physical health.

  • Yet according to a 2010 report, this is exactly how 80% of Americans commute to work every single day.

  • Now by comparison, those who take public transportation are slightly healthier and slightly more satisfied with life.

  • Yet we tend to be more negative about our experience overall.

  • Public transit commuters often resent the timetables.

  • If I don't leave work at 6 o'clock on the dot, I won't catch the 6:21.

  • if I don't catch the 6:21 I have to get on the 6:53, and that's the difference between me getting home at 8:00 p.m. and me getting home at 8:45.

  • Throw in things like transfers, delays, cancellations, and you have a really solid foundation for a very stressful, very annoying commute.

  • Basically none of this is looking good for my mortality.

  • Then why do so many of us do it?

  • Commuting has been viewed as a source of stress, but in fact it gives people a break.

  • It's sometimes the only hour of the day that individuals have alone, to be by themselves to think, to listen to music.

  • Meaning my commute isn't technically dead space in my day.

  • I catch up on reading, I listen to podcasts, I take advantage of the alone time, but I can also get work done when I need to.

  • The change in communications has made commuting an extension of the workday or an opportunity for the individual to do things they couldn't otherwise do.

  • It's not just a way to go from point A to point B.

  • In other cases, where people live in the gig economy,

  • and so, having a home that is accessible to transportation is far more important than having a home which is next to your workplace.

  • If you're not gonna have a lifetime job, let's have a lifetime home.

  • So is my commute actually killing me?

  • Well it's certainly not the best way to spend so much of my time and it is exhausting, but you can make the most of it.

  • And there's something to be said about coming home at the end of it all.

This is my morning commute.

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B1 US Vox commute commuting train transportation home

It's not you. Commuting is bad for your health.

  • 47179 2009
    Samuel posted on 2018/12/30
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