How Changing Your Commute Can Improve Your Health and Happiness

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Looking to make your work day suck just a little less? The key may be in tweaking the way you actually get to your place of employment — at least, that’s the conclusion reached in a recent article from Vox. According to the piece, the mode of transportation people take to and from work actually plays a large part in people’s overall happiness and health.

Anyone who has had to spend countless hours in traffic may not find that very surprising.

The article points at two studies, one from Canada that was further explored by CityLab, and another from Britain that found that people who make their commute via public transportation, walking, or biking have significantly lower rates of obesity. Essentially, the two studies reach the conclusion that people who spend their commutes in their personal vehicles, fighting traffic and spending significant amounts of money on fuel and insurance costs, end up getting the short end of the stick in terms of both overall health, as well as in how they feel.

Hell, we’ve all made it to work at one point or another ready to punch a hole in the wall, haven’t we?

The important thing to take into consideration regarding these two studies is that they were not done in the United States, which does change things a little bit. For the Canadian study, researchers polled people commuting to and from a college located in Montreal, measuring their satisfaction level with their chosen method of transport. The British study, on the other hand, dug into data regarding commuting methods and compared that to body makeups to look for patterns. Had both of these studies been done in the United States, the data would likely have come back different, and it would really depend an awful lot on what cities the researchers conducted their experiments in.

For example, residents commuting in a sprawling Midwestern city like Chicago would likely have differing commuting patterns than the population of, say, New York City or San Francisco, both of which are more compact and centralized.