Don’t Let Your Commute Make You Fat (or Worse)

Your long car commute may be killing you. The longer you spend in your car going to and from work the more likely you are to suffer from cardiovascular disease, says to a recent study soon to be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers looked at 4,000 drivers surrounding Dallas and Austin, Tx, and concluded that their experience definitely puts them at odds with a healthy lifestyle and, at worse, contributes to obesity, which can lead to other ills.

Of course that isn’t surprising. The more time spent in your car each day diminishes the amount of time you have for healthy activities, such as exercise. Car commuters also tend to eat on the “ride,” and their choices are likely to be less healthy than someone who takes time to have a healthy breakfast at home or, on the back end, prepares a healthy dinner.

Moreover, many auto commutes tend to be stressful, which is why the study singled out auto commuting and said the same effects don’t occur for those who commute by train or other public transportation.

Now, let’s be real: people who take long commutes usually do so because they have to to support themselves and their families. This study won’t change that. So what can you do to counter some of the detrimental effects of a long car commute? Here are some Fit! Live! Win! tips:

* Prepare a healthy breakfast the night before.  Even if you can’t eat it before hopping into your car, you’ll have a healthy option riding shotgun. That’s better than stopping for a donut or bagel with cream cheese every morning.

* Get up earlier and workout. Tough, I know. But get in a quick morning workout and you’ll be energized by the time you jump into your car!

* Park farther from your place of work. Especially this time of year. take advantage of the nice weather to walk from the farthest part of the parking lot, or a few more blocks away.

* Take the stairs. If you work on an upper floor, use the stairs. Even if you work on, say, the 25th floor and don’t want to (or can’t) walk that many flight, start by getting off on, say, the 20th floor and walk the next five. Then each week add another floor to the challenge.

* Join a gym near work. At least three days each week, use your lunch hour to break a sweat. Then grab a heathy wheat wrap of such and have it at your desk. You’ll find you have less of an appetite and feel fresher all afternoon.

* Listen to great music. There’s not much you can do about the wacko drivers you encounter during your commute but you can manage the stress of driving by listening to your favorite music.

* Don’t be a wacko driver! No matter what someone else does on the road, don’t let them drag you into their madness. If someone cuts you off, let them pass. If someone won’t let you change lanes, so what. If someone crowds your tail, let them pass, too. Commuting is stressful, and stress kills. So try your best to enjoy the ride!

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