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Doctor Weighs in on Killer Commutes

10:47 PM, Apr 20, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The daily commute can be deadly, and not just because of accidents.

"It's just not a healthy activity," Dr. Michelle Aquino with Baptist Medical Center said of driving.

The average Jacksonville commute is 28 minutes.

That means the average commute five days a week totals 242 hours a year behind the wheel.

"Sitting anywhere for a long period of time is not a good thing," Aquino said. "Sitting in a car is a little bit worse."

Aquino said the daily commute can cause mental and physical problems.

"There's a lot of anxiety associated," Aquino said. "There's anger, there's frustration, a lot of frustration."

It could also be adding to your waistline.

"Studies have shown that obesity goes up when you have a long commute," Aquino said, adding sleep deprivation goes up with a longer commute as well.

"So now you're sleep-deprived, you're going on this long commute, your blood pressure's going up, you're gaining weight, you're not doing exercise, and you're getting frustrated in the middle of all this," she explained.

Obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol are a killer combination.

"It can lead to ultimately a heart attack," Aquino said.

"I think if you look at this and say, I just have to be healthier," Aquino said. "I think all of us can do that. Doesn't matter what you do, doesn't matter how long your commute is. We can all do that."

You can't avoid the drive, but you can lessen the effects.

Aquino suggests getting 30 minutes of vigorous exercise "more days than not," listening to calming music to avoid road rage and taking a healthy snack so the fast food drive through isn't as tempting.

First Coast News

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