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How our long commutes are hurting our health

11.12.2018
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How our long commutes are hurting our health

Here in the West some of us spend hours sitting in traffic to get to and from work. It’s no secret that these long commutes are bad for our health and productivity, but just how bad are they?

Here at Time for the West, we did some digging to find out.

 

Long commutes damage our physical health

Most of us probably don’t think about the toll sitting in congested traffic for hours has on our health, but we should! Studies have shown that people who commute over one hour per day are 21% more likely to be obese and are also at increased risk of high blood pressure.

Other physical health problems caused by long commutes include headaches, backaches, dizziness and digestive problems. All this just because it takes too long just to get to and from work!

 

Long commutes hurt our mental health

A study in the UK also found that longer commutes have a negative impact on our mental health. This is no surprise. Long commutes make us feel starved of quality time we could be spending with our family and friends, and our stress levels spike as we sit in traffic worrying about what we’re missing at work and at home.

In fact, the stress from sitting for hours in congested traffic is so bad that workers who had a daily commute of over one hour have been found to be 33% more likely to suffer from depression, 37% more likely to face financial issues, and 12% more likely to report multiple areas of work related stress.

 

Long commutes lower productivity

It’s not just us who should be worried about our mega-commutes – our employers should be concerned too. Research has shown that people who commute to work in under half an hour gain an additional week’s worth of productive time each year compared to those who have to commute for over an hour.

As an added bonus, a study in America showed that cutting out a one-hour commute has been shown to produce happiness equivalent to a $40,000 pay rise!

 

And finally, a US study found that it wasn’t just how long it takes to commute to work that affects our wellbeing, it’s also how we get there.

The research clearly shows that people are happiest when walking to work, but if that isn’t possible, taking a train, bus, or cycling are all better options for our health and happiness than driving.

 

So what can we do?

To improve our commute times, our health and wellbeing, we need serious investment in transport infrastructure in Melbourne’s West. That’s why we’re working together to make sure our MPs know they must take action and commit to providing the West with the bike paths and public transport options our growing communities need.

The election is just two weeks away, so we’re making sure our MPs listen, take our ideas to parliament and start solving our transport issues in the West.

Add your voice to the thousands of others calling for action. Sign the Time for the West petition and make sure your family and friends do too. We’ll keep you updated on our campaign and ways that you can get involved.

Together our communities in Melbourne’s West can make sure we get a transport system that benefits all of us. Together we can tell our politicians that it’s time for the West.