Is your commute killing you?

Published On: Jul 18 2014 11:05:00 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 21 2014 06:10:00 AM EDT

For most of us, our work day begins and ends in the car.  But is your drive to and from work slowly sucking the good stuff from your life? There could be a cost to commuting.

It's estimated 10.8 million Americans deal with a daily commute.    
The average commuter spends 50 minutes a day driving to and from work. But commuting takes its toll on more than your time and wallet. It has a significant impact on your well-being. So, imagine being Steve Crabtree.
He told us, "Well I'm not in the car too much in because I go to the airport. But from when I get in the car, it's usually eight to 12 hours to get to my job, depending on the layovers."

That's a rough commute no matter what but it could mean problems for Crabtree's health. The Gallup Healthways Well Being Index discovered the longer the commute, the higher levels of obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue, and anxiety.
That last one Crabtree said he understands all too well. "The plane can be delayed getting there, and now I've got to make sure I have enough time to catch my next flight to where I'm going. It's pretty stressful at times."

Those with a long commute may experience lower happiness and life satisfaction than non-commuters according to the index. But if you can't avoid it, then it's up to you to make the best of it. Crabtree explained how he copes. "Well it's almost a mental thing," he said. "Where you just to sit back and say Okay, there's just so much I can control. You just let everything else take it's place. You can't do anything else, really."  
The answer may not be trading in your car for a bus or bike. Riding a bus for 30 minutes was associated with the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness. And even if you're lucky enough to bike to work, satisfaction levels take a nosedive depending on how long you spend doing it.


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