May 8, 2023 | 13:13
Don’t file this under “work benefits.”
A study shows that getting to and from the office can actually be excruciating for your health.
“A long commute to work is associated with less physical activity, being overweight and having trouble sleeping,” researchers from Stockholm University wrote.
“And, depending on where your office is located, you’re also more likely to drink to excess.”
It takes a surprisingly short travel distance for a person to feel these effects, according to the researchers.
“We found that daily trips of more than [about two miles] increased the likelihood of being physically inactive and overweight, and of poor sleep,” they wrote.
“People who worked more than 40 hours and traveled more than five hours a week were more likely to be physically inactive and experience trouble sleeping, compared to people who only traveled one to five hours a week.”
The study analyzed responses from almost 13,000 Swedes, aged 16 to 64, to four surveys conducted in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Those whose daily commutes were within the range of about two miles were noted to be “more physically active.”
“This could be because this distance made it easier to cycle or walk to work, or because a shorter commute gave participants time before and after work to exercise.”
As for drinking habits, an office in “a high socioeconomic area” made them “more likely” to be problematic.
Participants in the study reported that they often felt the need to cut down on their alcohol intake, with many “drinking first thing in the morning to calm their nerves or cope with a hangover.”
“We also found that when a person’s workplace was located near a bar, they were more likely to have harmful drinking habits,” the researchers noted.
The team proposed further research and analysis of the stress of commuting, among other issues related to the quality of life beyond the borders of their Scandinavian nation.
“It will be important to investigate these factors, along with whether our results are similar for people living in different regions of the world.”