Long Commutes Can Kill and There’s Actually Proof

effects of long commutes

Advocates for working from home when starting a business cite all kinds of reasons. There’s the lower overhead, spending more time with friends and family, a more flexible work schedule and more.

But one reason for cutting out long commutes rarely even gets mentioned — the fact that long-term, you may be saving your life!

Jane E. Brody, a columnist for The New York Times observes:

A recent study of 4,297 Texans compared their health with the distances they commuted to and from work. It showed that as these distances increased, physical activity and cardiovascular fitness dropped, and blood pressure, body weight, waist circumference and metabolic risks rose.

Chris Tackett of Treehugger says the study makes the case for neighborhoods built to encourage shorter commutes and more walking and biking.

But, of course, entrepreneurs can’t wait for urban renewal. So the question becomes how do you make sure you’ll still be around to enjoy the fruits of your labor once your business has grown?

Again, Brody argues less commuting allows more time to live a healthier lifestyle including more exercise, eating better and getting more sleep.

If your business can be started from home, you should consider how much time you could save that would otherwise be lost in commuting.

Learn more on the study and the connection between commuting distance and health from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine here.

Long Commute Photo via Shutterstock

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

13 Reactions
  1. Traffic is very stressful for me, so I get that aspect perfectly. However, I see how many things are designed for consumption while in a car (like the KFC to-go meals) and it’s no surprise that people are getting fatter in their cars.

  2. Hmm, I don’t know – isn’t there a similar health risk if you work from home and sit all day in front of the computer or on your laptop and hardly exercise?

    • Ebele,

      Hmm – you are right. I work at home and sit too much for years. Now I work standing up for about 5-6 hours a day – and I feel great 🙂

      • Ivan: You work from home, standing up for 5-6 hours a day? If it was me, I’d be really tempted to sit down if I was in the comfort of my own home. My chair would be calling after a while.

    • It depends on what work you are doing at home. Before you choose a work from home business, you must first decide the kind of lifestyle you need. Then you choose a business that guarantees that lifestyle.

      • (nods) I hear you, Eyram. I guess the same or similar could be said for choosing work whether it be a home business or not. Would you agree?

  3. I’m lucky because my office is a short commute from my home. I would not have taken it if it takes longer. Long commutes are bad for your health. But then again, I prefer working at an office with a short commute than at home? Why? Staying at home too much can make you put on the pounds and can even make you lazy. I am pretty sure that there is a study that can confirm that as well.

  4. I work in a home office and try to make sure that there is sufficient physical activity like going to the gym downstairs in my condo. Sedentary lifestyle such as watch tv too long is not too good either.

  5. Good work! The research is really helpful. Your post has inspired me to write on a related subject.

  6. Hi Shawn,

    Interesting survey and I know from my own personal experience I hate commuting. Not only does it suck but it wastes a bunch of your time sitting in the car.

    I would much rather work from home than work for anyone else. As for sitting in front of your computer all day, when you work for yourself, you can take breaks whenever you want.

    I break my days up and go to the gym at least 4 times per week. Thanks for sharing these stats with us and I hope you have a great day.