Some of us do not have the luxury to have an office within walking distance. Some of us have to take a long journey to work and back home. Some of us even have to switch transportation modes a couple of times just to get the most effective route and littlest commuting time.
We may look spoiled compared to children in remote areas who walk for miles just to get to school. But long commutes, especially for city-goers, do have significant effects.
In 2012, researchers from NYU Wagner School of Public Service, Mitchell L. Moss and Carson Qing, coined the term “super commuter” which refers to individuals who spend hours per day commuting, as much as three to four hours a day.
The most prominent effect from long commute is our higher blood pressure, higher adrenaline level, musculoskeletal disorders, and related physical effects which translates to the stress level. Being exposed to traffic congestion, air pollution, funny temperature and urban sprawl almost every day for hours takes up so much energy.
When our physical condition is already drained and we are forced to push it beyond our limits without a proper break, it is likely that our exhaustion is channelled to anger and bad relationship management. In terms of performance, a big chunk of our energy is used to face the daily commute (and its challenges) and to cool off. So, there’s less energy left to be dedicated to more important matters in our lives, such as work and relationship, compared to those with a shorter daily commute.
Another ‘disguised’ effect is our diet. Commuting leads to worse food decisions.
People with super commutes have little time to actually live their lives and get real stuff done. So in terms of food, they would tend to opt for grab-and-go kind of food. As we all know, those type of food is usually loaded with unnecessary and bad sugar, fat and salt. So, stop wondering why these super commuters gain even more weight even though they are on the road for hours on a daily basis.
In the long run, hours of daily commute can result in respiratory problems, chronic stress, obesity, diabetes and even heart attacks. If not health, it reduces our performance and focus on things that actually matter. Things that actually affect our livelihood.