Change the way you commute
Long commutes to work can have positives and negatives – For many it is a chance to escape home responsibilities or bypass all that traffic on the roads and get back some ‘me-time’. For others it is nothing short of a nightmare, time away from families, disconnect with colleagues and a complete lack of work life balance.
Gauging whether the journey is worth it will ultimately be the deciding factor for people. The boss is welcoming, colleagues are friendly, the work is engaging and the coffee machine is awesome, so staying is the only option.
With no time for exercise or fitness, general health can suffer amongst those with an arduous journey. Long hours commuting can result in high blood pressure, musculoskeletal disorders and increased anxiety which can translate into tardiness and lack of motivation in the office. Couple this with the inability or lack of time to remain active and some noticeable albeit subtle health and wellbeing issues begin to arise. Fast food ekes into everyday life and a routine of bad habits begins.
musculoskeletal disorders associated with long commuting
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle / Tendon strain
- Ligament Sprain
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Tension Neck Syndrome
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
Typically these disorders are manageable and various treatments can ensue. Visiting a health professional is advised where stretching and massage can be prescribed based on a complete biomechanical assessment from head to toe.
Although these disorders are a result of untreated symptoms or general neglect over an extended period there are a number of ways people can prevent this outcome.
So where to from here?
Why don’t we start with a change in mindset –
- Taking public transport is a chance to catch up on work, otherwise done at home
- Driving is a time to listen to your favourite music, podcasts, audiobooks or radio stations
- Get back some ‘me-time’, have a chance to think things over and send a nice text message to your loved ones
- Driving is therapeutic, take in the scenery and appreciate the landscape
“Preparation is key”
Practical tips for long commuting
- Ride your bike part of the way to work: can’t be bothered exercising when you get home at night? Cycling is a great low impact activity to improve functional fitness. Instead of catching the train from the closest station, ride to the next station and get in some exercise.
- Pre plan your meals: Preparation is key, every Sunday dedicate 2 hours to making simple nutrient rich food for the week ahead. Purchase 5 plastic containers and cook things like brown rice, lean chicken, beans and vegetables. Pack each container evenly and place them in the fridge. Grab and go in the morning and forget about all that fast food.
- Get into a stretching routine: spending large amounts of time either in a car on a train or some other form of transport usually means tight, sore muscles. 15 minutes of stretching per day can benefit an individual enormously in the following ways – Stress relief, promotes correct posture, enhances flexibility, improves energy levels and promotes blood circulation. Researching a quick effective stretching routine that can be done at night will be the catalyst for feeling better on that long commute.
The key point to take away for any long commuter is planning ahead. Preparation is key and while you may sacrifice some time on weekends to do so, it will save you a big headache mid-week!