60-Second Health

Car Commutes Can Counter Conditioning

Car commutes are linked to increased metabolic health problems, and the longer the ride the worse the issues. Katherine Harmon reports

The average American car commuter spends a total of about 50 minutes each day getting to and from work. Some spend hours stuck in heavy traffic. Others may enjoy clear roads, but long drives from suburbs to the city.

So is all of this time sitting behind the wheel bad for us?

To find out, researchers examined more than 4,000 residents of 11 different Texas counties around the Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. They found that the more distant the commute, the heavier and less fit the commuter. People with commutes farther than 10 miles were more likely to have higher blood pressure. And if commutes were more than 15 miles, people were also less likely to be getting enough exercise. The findings are in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. [Christine Hoehner et al., "Commuting Distance, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Metabolic Risk"]

Bike to Work Week is May 14th through 18th, and reminds us that there can be options besides driving. Mass transit can help unclog the roads and your arteries. I've found running for a bus or train to be an excellent morning workout. But simply walking for one is good, too.

—Katherine Harmon

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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