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7 Reasons Why Your Daily Commute Is Slowly Killing You

(DNAINFO)  Nicole Levy | February 25, 2016 — We’ve all griped about the stalled trains, closed stations and crowded cars that make us seethe with indignation and fantasize about living anywhere else but here.

And we’ll continue to complain, with good reason: New Yorkers commute an average of 6 hours and 18 minutes per week, longer than workers in any of the nation’s other 29 largest cities, according to a 2015 report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The toll our daily commute takes on us has long-term implications on our mental and physical health, research shows.

Here’s what researchers like Richard Wener, a professor of environmental psychology at NYU and longtime tri-state commuter, have taught us:

1. Commuting can raise our cortisol levels, which is definitely not a good thing. 

In a 2004 study of suburban rail commuters taking the train from New Jersey to Manhattan, Wener and his co-author Gary Evans found that the longer their test subjects’ journey was, the higher the levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) in their saliva, and the more difficult they found to focus on the task of proofreading assigned them at the end of their commute.

Invasions of personal space had an affect on cortisol levels, too, Wener and Evans concluded in a follow-up paper.

“What our data showed was…that crowding made a difference, although the measure that was important wasn’t how many people were in the car,” Wener explained. “It was the likelihood that somebody was bumping into you.”

Chronic stress and overexposure to cortisol — which increases sugars in your bloodstream, alters your immune system responses, suppresses your digestive and reproductive systems, and communicates with that part of your brain that controls mood, motivation and fear — puts you at risk for mental health problems like anxiety and depression, and a whole host of physical health issues.

Source: 7 Reasons Why Your Daily Commute Is Slowly Killing You – Central Harlem – DNAinfo New York