The 6 things you had no idea public transport is doing to your health.

Image via Seinfeld/NBC.

The average Aussie spends 29 minutes getting to work. That’s almost a full hour a day round trip.

Given that the average Australian works 48 weeks a year, that means that we’re currently spending almost 240 hours on public transport a year. TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY HOURS. That is ten full days a year.

I digress. I have never really liked catching public transport to work, and I prefer to ride my bike. Now I have further evidence as to why public transport is actually the peril of our existence bad for our health.

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And if you catch public transport regularly – brace yourself.

1. Sleep

The longer you commute, the more likely you are to have poor sleep. A group of Swedish researchers analyzed data from roughly 21,000 people who worked more than 30 hours a week.

Their findings, published in the journal BMC Public Health, showed that a longer commute (either by train, bus or car) corresponds with poor sleep quality and exhaustion. (Post continues after gallery.)

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One explanation for their findings could be that longer transportation rides can involve transfers. And the unpredictability of transfers can correlate with heightened stress levels. Fantastic…

2. Happiness

A report from the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that commutes of any length experience lower life satisfaction and happiness than people with no commutes at all.

RELATED:10 simple tips for creating better mental health this week.

Riding a bus for 30 minutes or longer was associated with the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness. The longer you commute, the more likely you are to be unhappy.

3. Relationships

Swedish researchers surveyed over two million people, and found that when one person in a relationship commutes for 45 minutes or longer a day, the couple are 40 per cent more likely to divorce.

"To be able to commute to work can be a positive thing because it means you don't have to uproot your family with every career move, but it can also be a strain on your relationship," Erika Sandow, social geographer at Umea University and lead author of the study, told Swedish publication, The Local.

4. Stress levels

Workers who commute by train, bus or cars to work are more likely to have increased stress levels. One study, from Lund University in Sweden, found that people who travelled to work by car or public transport reported higher levels of stress and tiredness compared to active commuters who travelled by foot or bicycle.

According to another recent study, cycling to work, rather than driving or commuting via public transport, will make you 40 per cent less stressed by the time you reach your destination.

The research, from Stanford Calming Technology Lab, analysed data produced by 1,000 commuters over 20,000 commutes. Using a monitor, they tracked the participants’ heart rates and the depth of their breaths throughout the working day.


RELATED: 6 signs you’re stressed (and what you can do about it)

Workers who commuted by motorised transport displayed shallower breathing an hour after arriving at their workplace, compared to those who cycled. (Post continues after gallery.)

 5. Blood Sugar and cholesterol levels

If you commute more than 16 kilometres to work, you could have higher than average blood sugar. According to research published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, longer commutes are linked to high blood glucose (which is associated with pre-diabetes and diabetes).

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The study also found that long distance commuters are also susceptible to higher cholesterol levels.

6. Fitness levels

How you get to work affects your fitness levels. According to one Melbourne based study, people who drove to the station to get the train got, on average, 31 minutes of exercise a day.

Whereas, people who walked to the station got 41 minutes a day, and people who walk or cycle to work get on average 38 minutes a day.

RELATED: The simple trick that will make your work day 40% less stressful.

The study also found that how far you travel each day affects your fitness levels, inner city dwellers are six times more likely to get 30 minutes of exercise a day than their counterparts in the outer suburbs.

If you're tired after commuting all day, try this simple yoga flow to get some exercise into your day.