07 Mar How the London commute damages your health!
The daily commute into London can be a nightmare. Whether it is the delayed and overcrowded transport or the moody, impatient fellow commuters: there is a lot to dislike! But did you know it’s also bad for your health?
Here are 3 of the biggest health risk of commuting in London:
1. Raised cortisol levels
Cortisol is the human body’s primary stress hormone and being in crowded spaces has been shown to increase the body’s cortisol levels. Essentially this is because your body is on alert due to the increased chance of someone bumping into you – which must happen a dozen times a day on the London tube!
So what are the effects of cortisol? Well, it increases the sugar in your bloodstream, alters immune responses and suppresses digestive and reproductive systems. It also influences the area of the brain that controls motivation, mood and fear. For this reason, it can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and various other physical issues.
2. Denies you a healthy lifestyle
Interestingly, and unsurprisingly if you think about it, those people who have long commutes tend to sleep and exercise less too. A study based on the American Time Use survey found that each minute spent travelling to work, translates into 0.22 minutes of lost sleep. This means that an hour’s commute each way means you’re losing 26.5 minutes of sleep a day and 2.2 hours a week! You hate your commute even more now don’t you? It gets worse…
Workers with a long commute are also more likely to have high cholesterol and a body mass index (BMI) which categorizes them as obese. If you spend a lot of time on the tube or bus in London, then this is a significant part of your day that won’t be spent exercising or preparing healthy, wholesome food at home.
3. Stress, stress, STRESS!
Do you feel your heart beat faster during your daily commute? Well, you are not alone. Commuters everywhere suffer from this same stress. In London, stress levels are exacerbated by the sheer volume of people competing for position as they march to station platforms. Delays are also a common cause of frustration. It is important that you try to stay calm amongst the mayhem because stress increases the risk of serious health problems, including: heart disease, asthma, depression and diabetes.
A request to all commuters in London: be nice to each other on tomorrow morning’s commute. After all, our health will be better for it.