Almost everyone who works in NYC is familiar with the struggles of commuting. But commuting isn’t just a nuisance. It can actually have a significant impact on your health and well-being. Here are seven reasons why you’re commute is slowly killing you:
1. It raises your stress levels
A 2004 study concluded that the longer your commute, the higher your cortisol levels are likely to be. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has all sorts of bad effects on your body: increasing blood sugar, altering your immune system, suppressing your digestive and reproductive systems, and of course, putting a damper on your mood.
2. The more you have to transfer, the more stressed you are
The same study also concluded that the more transfers you have on your commute, the more stressed you are. This is because transfers add uncertainty, especially when the subway station that you’re in doesn’t have any countdown clocks or arrival boards.
3. You’re not getting enough sleep
No wonder this city is sleep deprived. A 2009 study concluded that on average, every minute you spend commuting translates to 0.22 minutes that you are not sleeping. If you commute an hour each way, you’re losing about half an hour of sleep every day.
4. You’re not working out enough
The same study from above found that every minute you spend commuting translates to 0.026 minutes that you’re not exercising. Statistically, those who commute long distances are less likely to engage in strenuous exercise.
5. It raises your cholesterol
This one is no surprise given that you’re not getting enough exercise. If you have a long commute, you’re also less likely to cook food and more likely to grab a couple slices of pizza on your way home.
6. You’re getting sick
All that time spent in a cramped subway car with all those people is a recipe for spreading germs. Always wash your hands as soon as you get to work, or get home, and never touch your face before you do so.
7. You could actually die young
This is the scariest one. A 2013 study found a correlation between long commutes and earlier death. Guess it really is “live fast, die young” in this city, huh?
Cover photo credit: Elliott Scott/Flickr