Your Commute is Killing You

longer commutes are bad for youIt really is bad for you.

Commuting. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has just been released, and the results make it clear that the more you commute, the less you will be doing with regards to job satisfaction, physical and emotional health. The data analytics were compiled during 2010, and culled from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

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As wrapped up on The Today Show's website, the results showed that the longer you commute:

  • The more you worry.

  • You are less likely you are to smile or laugh each day.

  • High blood pressure and obesity are more likely.

  • You will exercise less (and we're told that's good for you, supposedly).

  • It's less likely you will see your workplace as having a trusting place.

  • You will hate the job that you're spending all that time to get to and from.

"I think the numbers that really struck me were around stress and health behavior and work environment. There is a significant difference," determined by commute time, Nikki Duggan, Healthway's director of operations & analytics, told the Today Show's website.

Indeed, 39 percent of those commuting 15 minutes or less reported a stressful work life, whereas the figure stood at 51 percent for those traveling over 60 minutes a day. A similarly large deficit was seen in the category of overall life evaluation. The amount of people responding positively dropped from 74 percent for commuters of 15 minutes or less to 64 percent for those travelling more than 60 minutes.

So it should come as no surprise that commuter lines are often the site for public disturbances. As London endures its riots, incidents of unrest have been reported throughout the city. But the recent announcement of fare increases incited outrage outside the Waterloo Station in London, according to the Financial Times. The privatization of the lines has drawn the animus of the country's commuters, who spoke of a need for affordable commuting in interviews with the FT.

But opposition politicians couched distaste over the fare hike with a recognition of the commuting experience.

"I think people would understand fare increases above inflation more if they were seeing some big improvements, but as you know if you ever commute into London on a regular basis, it's cattle truck territory," said Maria Eagle, shadow transport secretary. "Now I wouldn't, if it were me, want to pay 13 percent more a year for that."

Next: Is Your Commute Ruining Your Marriage?



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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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