Driving long distances? You’re driving yourself right into an early grave. You know about the possibility of accidents. You’re more likely to be in a car accident than a plane accident, and of course, we know that there are other risks, but a study from Australia shows links between more driving and obesity, sleep issues, stress, and other health issues that can shorten your lifespan.
The researchers surveyed about 37,000 people for questions about their daily drive times, sleep schedules, exercise routines, and other factors. When you compare non-drivers, people who drove 2 hours a day or more saw problems such as being:
- 78% more likely to be obese
- 86% more likely to have sleep problems
- 33% more likely to report psychological distress
- 43% more likely to report a low quality of life
- A greater likelihood to smoke and fall short of weekly exercise targets
Yes, they specify 2 hours, but even half an hour of daily driving time can have detrimental effects. Even that short a period can increase your risk of these same health problems. The truth is that uninterrupted sitting in general can have this type of effect, but also:
- Driving Can Be Stressful: You’re on the road, and you have bad traffic, other dumb drivers, you miss a turn, and experience other stressors. Studies have actually linked stress (that could be associated with driving) to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and plenty of other health problems to boot. Daily driving is one of the most stressful things that you can do.
- Road Time Is Lost Time: There is only so much time in a day, and unfortunately, you can’t get it back. If you’re spending those hours every day on the road, you lose time that you would ideally be spending on exercise, sleep, and other healthy things.