How long do you spend driving to and from work every day—thirty minutes to an hour or more? Your long commute could be detrimental for your efforts towards medical weight loss in New Jersey. New research from Brown University found that for every hour spent each day commuting, the average person has 16.1 percent less time for exercise, 30.6 percent less time for sleep, 5.8 percent less time to eat as a family and 4.1 percent less time to prepare food. Sacrificing time for healthy behaviors like the ones above could put your waistline at a disadvantage.
The bottom line is that the longer you spend driving to and from the office, the less likely you may be to exercise, making you prone to weight gain. Long commutes can even impact your blood pressure and cardiorespiratory fitness levels.
This study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine was based on data from approximately 4,300 adults in Texas whose jobs required a commute of some kind. Researchers found that participants with the longest commutes had a higher body-mass index, higher blood pressure levels and a reduced likelihood to exercise when compared to participants with short commutes.
Specifically, researchers concluded that commutes of 10 miles or more were linked to increased blood pressure levels, while commutes of more than 15 miles were linked to increased odds of obesity. What’s more, these health trends didn’t just disappear after researchers factored in time spent exercising, leading them to believe there is something about the commute itself that harms cardiovascular health.
You can’t just quit your job—so what can long commuters do to improve their health?
Though losing weight is important during your medical weight loss program, quitting your job may not be a reasonable solution. Instead, long commuters should find creative ways to build physical fitness into their daily lives despite their short or long commutes.
Ultimately, your weight loss results are up to you, so take matters into your own hands if you’re dealing with a long commute. Here are some ways to build fitness into your day:
- Find any excuse to walk more—even at work. Instead of emailing a quick question to a coworker who sits across your office, stand up and physically walk to their desk to get your answer. If you have to travel on the elevator to get to your office, try taking the stairs instead for a couple days each week.
- Talk with your boss about physical activity breaks. See if you can implement a walking meeting policy that will get you and your co-workers up and moving instead of sitting around a table during discussions.
- If possible, drive a certain distance to your work and then park your car close by your office. This way you can walk the rest of the way to your building and get in at least 10 minutes of exercise in the morning and when you leave the office in the afternoon.
Even after a long exhausting day at work, don’t let exercise intimidate you. Whether you work out for thirty minutes straight or break that into three 10-minute sessions, every little bit helps.