It’s not you. Commuting is bad for your health.

It’s not you. Commuting is bad for your health.

This is my morning commute. I get up, get ready, get in a car, drive to the train station, look for parking, get on a train for an hour and a half, arrive at Penn Station, get another train,
walk five minutes, and start my work day. Is this killing me? Before you go and post that comment
telling me to move closer, you need to see that I’m not the only person doing
this. This is the train station I commute from. This place is huge and yet it’s
full almost every single day. Just this past fall they had to rip out an entire
section of trees to make more space for parking and it’s still not always enough. According to US census data the average American commute is nearly 30 minutes
one way, a number that’s been on the rise for the last few decades. In general,
people are choosing to commute further and farther than ever before. And those
long grueling hours in cars, on trains, or buses can take a toll on a person’s
health. Especially when we all hate it so very, very, much. If you commute or you’ve been on the internet at all, you’ve seen the articles
and maybe you’ve read the studies. Commuting has been linked to higher
rates of obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, higher blood pressure, higher
rates of divorce, neck and back problems, shorter lifespans, and you get the point. Commuting long distances just isn’t good for you. But a lot of it comes down to
how you do it. For example a Canadian study of commuters in Montreal found
that people who walk, bike, or hop on a train had a higher life satisfaction than
those with comparable commute times on other types of transit. In another study,
British researchers found that people who drive to work instead of using
public transportation are more likely to be obese. Sitting in a car all day really
adds the negative effects of an inactive lifestyle. You’re sitting for hours on
end and when all is said and done it’s really hard to find the time or the
motivation to exercise. And that’s not all. Research has shown that driving alone in
particular can make you more miserable. You’re alone with your thoughts for
hours, often in frustrating situations, so it’s
not really surprising that this is the disaster for both your mental and
physical health. Yet according to a 2010 report, this is exactly how 80% of
Americans commute to work every single day. Now by comparison, those who take public transportation are slightly healthier
and slightly more satisfied with life. Yet we tend to be more negative about
our experience overall. Public transit commuters often resent the timetables. If
I don’t leave work at 6 o’clock on the dot, I won’t catch the 6:21. if I don’t catch the 6:21 I have to get on the 6:53, and
that’s the difference between me getting home at 8:00 p.m. and me getting home at
8:45. Throw in things like transfers, delays, cancellations, and you have a
really solid foundation for a very stressful, very annoying commute. Basically none of this is looking good
for my mortality. Then why do so many of us do it? Commuting has been viewed as a
source of stress, but in fact it gives people a break. It’s sometimes the only
hour of the day that individuals have alone, to be by themselves to think, to
listen to music. Meaning my commute isn’t technically dead space in my day. I catch
up on reading, I listen to podcasts, I take advantage of the alone time, but I can
also get work done when I need to. The change in communications has made
commuting an extension of the workday or an opportunity for the individual to do
things they couldn’t otherwise do. It’s not just a way to go from point A to
point B. In other cases ,where people live in the gig economy, having a
home that is accessible to transportation is far more important
than having a home which is next to your workplace. If you’re not gonna have a
lifetime job let’s have a lifetime home. So is my commute actually killing me? Well it’s certainly not the best way to spend so much of my time and it is
exhausting, but you can make the most of it. And there’s something to be said
about coming home at the end of it all

About the author


  1. This is why i chose working for myself. My happiness and mental and emotional health is always my top priority not just for me but so I can be FULLY present for the people in my life

  2. Simple (actually not simple) solution: Fund your public transit system more and encourage people to drive less.


  3. I know someone who takes an underground train system every day and it's the difference between homework causing endless stress or being able to do other things cus theres nothing else to really do

  4. Well I’m from Denmark and my commute is 20 min Walk 20 min bus ride and Then 5 min walk again and then on my Way home from School reverse.

  5. Starting work at 10 am and leaving around 6 is not that bad. You can always cycle to the station and skip the car traffic.

  6. In Jakarta, I wake up at 5.10, taking a bath and then go to the train station by motorbike at 6.00 (I dont have breakfast). I take train at 6.35. I commute by train, even I have to transit and move to another train because of the route. Reaching the closest train station to my office, I take the motorbike taxy called Gojek or Grab Bike to reach my office. I sometimes reach my office at 7.20 or 7.45. We start working at 8.00 in the morning and go home at 17.00 in the afternoon. I reach home at 18.45 or even 19.00 if I go home little bit too late.
    Commuting by train is my something normal here although it is not easy.
    I hope I can buy a house that is closer to my office or I'll find another job that is located near to my house.

  7. I used to live in Newcastle, Australia and worked in Sydney. 2-hour train commute each way and there was always people travelling to work on the 4:30am train. There are so many good jobs based out of the big cities but they're too expensive to live in. Employers really need to embrace working in an active online environment so we can all live healthy lives.

  8. I just live in downtown seattle and walk for 15 minutes to get to work. I will suggest you guys do the same.

  9. I think one of the biggest problem here, is your shift starts work too late. Get a job that starts a 6am. Traffic is lighter before 6.

  10. The little research I read mentioned it depends on where you live and how the job market is placed in the area you live in. If there are good paying jobs in your area you are more likely to stay in your area and the commute is shorter. However, if there are you live does not have good paying jobs nearby then the majority of people will have to commute. Also, I learned most cities in USA were designed for travel not work. So, even if I wanted to I would not ride a bike in my area because no bike lanes and where there are areas that have bike lanes the drivers are so aggressive I would hope to live to get to work daily! Alos, commuting is not always a choice if there are no jobs in your area or the housing is so expensive where you work you have to live elsewhere. Finally, I read one research study that commuters (drivers) weigh 15-20% more then those that do not commute. AYE!

  11. I've got an internship in NYC where I have to ride the subway for more than half of its entire length. Its about 1:15 for me. I've been here for just over a month (originally from a more rural part of Connecticut) and it has convinced me that if my work is in the city I will be really close to work or just not work there at all. I just have no energy to do anything when I get home around 6:30. Im just sitting there on the subway too, so it means I'm not getting much exercise.

  12. Dang you start late. My commute averages 23 minutes…15 miles. Leave home at 7:35AM for 8AM start day. I am addicted to listening to podcasts or whatever audio book I have in my thumb drive. I make those 23 minutes count. My boss has a commute over 1.5 hours and he listens to FOX NEWS on the way in. Suffice to say that left him paranoid and angry all the time.

  13. Ask governments all around the world to invest in public transport. Stop going everywhere by Car. Read while you are sitting in a bus or a train. It will make you wiser. Always have a book with you.

  14. Public Transport enormously improves literally everything in a city. Numerous other countries know this, bullet trains in Japan, extensive rail systems in Europe, perfectly scheduled trains in Hong Kong, China features more railtracks than the rest of the world combined.

    Cars are just abysmally inefficient for transportation.

  15. Hate to break it to you but you need to leave that job if you can't move closer. Why willingly ruin your life and make a video on it on top of that?

  16. That is why I live 10 min away from work. By 10 min, I mean walking, I mean from opening my apartment door to close my cubicle door!

  17. I like my 45 minute drive to my current contract, it gives me time to get my thoughts together and kinda hype myself up

  18. Seems like a cheap way to justify high housing prices in cities and places that are close to work, if you don't spend your time commuting you can catch up with your reading and work on a park near home and not getting stressed about coming to work late

  19. Just like in the video, it's all to do with how you go about your commute; doing half an hour in sub 10mph city traffic, followed by a long train journey through a sprawling metropolis like Kimberly does for another ~2 hrs is NOT FUN most of the time. But on the other hand if you like trains, it's not so bad.

    For me it's the choice of a 40 min bus, followed by a 25 min train, then a 30 min bus or a 50 min drive. I like driving, so I go in the car

  20. I live in jersey and wake up at 6am to get to work by 9am in the bronx every day. It’s taken a huge toll on my mental, physical and overall health. Just exhausted.

  21. you're so welcome to commute in the public busses here in Monterrey, Mexico, and we only have two subway lines. specially if you catch some rain, the trip is going to be… "different". great video and stats though. keep it up.

  22. What is the difference between “Metro” and “Train?” Is Metro an intercity light rail or subway kind of thing?

  23. i think american public transportation is just not that good. pretty bad, honestly. i lived in 2 german cities and a city a quarter the size of philly had far better and convenient transportation, many tram and subway lines that were connected to a main station that could take you to anywhere in germany, or europe (belgium, france, the netherlands). it was easy to transfer and trains were very often. if you wanted to travel to another city (frankfurt, for example) you would need to go to the station the morning of, buy a ticket, and you could get on a high speed train in under 10 minutes and be on your way. my dad also rode the tram in front of our apartment every day to work in the central city, and it took a shorter time for him to commute over a longer distance than when he lived in long island over a shorter distance. no one is gonna read my comment lol

  24. In India people suffer more to get their job location uh lucky to car
    Here in india people can't affort even public transport

  25. At least you live in the US where you have a train and you're seated. In a third world country buses are full, everyone is standing up, there are people selling things, and since it is not a train you're inside a traffic rush. But still, you have to make the most out of it I guess

  26. I get off the bus early so I can take a 15-30min walk.
    Has worked wonders for my health. Depending on how stressed I am.

  27. Una situación parecida se vive en ciudades como Bogotá. 2 horas de ida y 2 horas de vuelta. 4 horas diarias en bus, pero con una diferencia: Alta saturación de personas en los buses (hasta 10 x 1m2) , y altísimos niveles de inseguridad. Esto no te permite utilizar tu celular o leer in libro. Así que tienes que mirar 4 horas diarias hacia la ventana del bus. Muy triste.

    A very similar situations happened in Bogota, Colombia. 4 hours per day (round trip), but with this little different: High amount of people (Up to 10 x 1m2) and highest levels of insecurity. It doest not alow to you to check your cellphone or read a book. Finally, you have 4 hour per day just to whatching life through the windows 🙁

  28. I like driving to work alone. Get on the freeway and 30 minutes, work, and then back home. As far as exercise, I have time to go to a nice park and walk the track. Driving to get the work out of the way doesn't mean you still can't find a half hour or so to go for a walk. Plus, I live in a medium sized city and the commute isn't that bad. Unless there's construction. 🙁

  29. the commute time is one of the best times in a day, I can read on the bus/metro, I can listen to music in my car and sing to it….

  30. This reminds me of how much I love my 200k people city in Poland. Getting from one side to the other takes 1h tops and if you commute from the suburbs to the center it takes 20min on average. The buses are mostly comfortable, although sometimes late.
    I feel nauxious about moving to Warsaw in October for university. It's gonna take me about 0,5h of tram commute to get to school, while in high school I could wake up at 8 to get to a 8:30 class by foot

  31. Horrible lifestyle, less than 3 hours of freetime each day if you intend to get your minimum sleep. 8/8/8 is the optimum split, 8 at work + commute, 8 for yourself, and 8 hours of sleep.

  32. Most people live in Beijing, as far as I know, at least spend like 1 hour to get to work. My husband used to have 2 hours commuting time—for a single trip! So those who can get to their workplace in 30 minutes are lucky ones! Ridiculous, but…that's the fact. And believe me, you would never never never appreciate the long commuting time you have on the train or bus, cause it's always so crowd! It feels like you are forced to stay in a can…and people are just rubbing against each other. Terrible experience!

  33. I’m on disability because I’m in pain 24/7. Suddenly I feel a lot less suicidal. Sure, my days are filled with never-ending pain, but at least I don’t have to *commute*.

  34. What is really killing us is this system. Working for hours and getting stuck in traffic is not healthy and makes us increasingly miserable, just so that a few can get rich with our time.

  35. I don't have a car so I use public transit or walk around my village(yes i don't live in a big city or town)

  36. 'Commuting by car is more likely to make you obese' ? Yes and maybe obese people simply don't WANT to walk. Maybe you find more obese peeps CHOOSE to commute by car. It's not causal. Your conclusions are junk, as always.

  37. Most journalists and news sites tell us all the problems and depress us more. Whats the solution? Stop working? Pay higher rents for a smaller appt and live in the city ??? WHAT ???
    Such a useless VDO

  38. I live 5 minutes drive away from office. Though it costs 15% more but i still consider it best use of my salary! I am have time for cooking, jogging, reading.

  39. All I do just drive as a Gojek driver like uber but on bike. I have no anxiety, no worry, no stress. After all I'm happy. But the air polution kills me slowly.

  40. I remember commuting 1,5 hrs back in high school with my dad every day, now living 30 mins by foot to college has changed my life dramtically

  41. Ronkonkoma to Penn station is a ride and a half not gonna lie you won't believe how creepy I feel after figuring out what station you were at it bothered me and I did it now I feel like a creep thx for that

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