Driving long hours to work and other destinations have become a norm in our daily life. We talk about cars, traffic jams, road safety, but we rarely discuss the negative effects of driving on our health and lifestyle. Road accidents are and will remain one of the biggest causes of death among drivers, but there are many other things that are silently reducing your distance to the grave, one mile at a time.
Also Read: Tips to avoid back pain while driving
Various studies have been conducted worldwide to ascertain the impact of driving long hours on human health. Researchers found that people who drive more than 2 hours daily have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, increased stress levels and sleep disorders. So how exactly driving causes these things? A little explanation below might help you understand a lot:
Stress is the cause of many health risks including diabetes, Alzheimer and heart problems and driving is the most stressful activity. People say they take long drives to relax which might be true for people in small towns but those who live in cities like Lahore and Karachi, traffic jams are a nightmare. Combine them with road rage, lack of proper implementation of traffic laws, poor driving habits and you will find your head exploding or your blood boiling now and then, as a result of violent fights over small incidents are a common sight on our roads.
Lack of Movement
Drivers don’t get enough leg movement. Sitting for hours hampers with your body’s ability to burn fat which in turn causes a lot of health issues. With the advent of car hailing apps like Uber and Careem in Pakistan, many people are taking up the opportunity to earn extra. What they don’t realize is that sitting for long hours in a cramped space is not good. It puts a lot of strain on your back and neck muscles.
Driving cause exhaustion. Traffic jams, air pollution, road rage, stress to find a parking spot, etc. all these factors drain your energy leaving you with little time and energy to engage in other healthy activities. Driving for long hours on hot days causes dehydration, which in turn can make you sleepy resulting in a car crash. And the strain on eyes, those who have to endure blinding high beams and HID lamps can understand what I’m talking about.
Despite all the risks associated with driving, there is no denying in the ease of commuting that cars have to offer. To lessen the negative impacts of driving on your health a few modifications in lifestyle are highly recommended:
- Accept that people make mistakes. If you find yourself in the middle of a road rage situation, take few deep breaths, calm your nerves and avoid confrontation.
- Always keep a water bottle, it will come handy when you feel dehydrated or sleepy.
- Take small breaks during long travels. For those who drive to earn, step out after every two hours and stretch your limbs.
- Improve your posture and use a cushion for better back support.
- Carpool, whenever you can.
- If you have to run an errand at the corner of the street or across the street, WALK. There is no need to bring your car or bike out if you have been asked to buy yogurt or eggs.
- Engage in some light exercise at least thrice a week.
Drive safe, stay healthy.