Driving for long hours? Here is how it is impacting your health

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New Delhi: An annual study presented by a navigation major, TomTom, recently released its Traffic Index Report for 2018, where it provides data about traffic congestion levels. The study has found Mumbai to be the most congested city, in terms of traffic, in the world. Delhi, the country capital stands at number 4. Traffic has reached a point where people are spending more time on the streets stuck in traffic jams, rather than the destination for which they set out from home. Increased travel time in cars is also leading to health risks.

Driving for long hours can have an impact on your health. Especially when you are stuck in traffic and sitting in your car, you may have to drive for way longer than expected. Long driving hours may be putting you at a very high risk of certain diseases and disorders.

Effects of prolonged sitting

One common thing that people have to experience due to long hours of driving is sitting in the driver’s seat for hours. According to research, prolonged sitting is linked with a number of health problems and concerns like obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and others. Apart from these diseases, prolonged sitting can also lead to chronic leg pain, varicose veins, swelling in legs, etc. Prolonged sitting can also lead to the formation of blood clots in your legs. These clots, known as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) will prohibit a driver from driving for at least 2 months, and they can also be life-threatening. Back pain is another common effect of prolonged sitting that people who drive, or sit for long hours at a desk job may experience.

Driving leads to stress

A study conducted in Australia in 2017 found that compared to non-drivers, people who spent more than 2 hours driving were 33 per cent more likely to feel psychologically distressed along with the of other health issues like obesity. Driving is linked to one of the most common causes of stress in people. Especially driving for long hours in traffic can contribute even more to stress. People who drive for long hours are advised to incorporate some form of stress management in their routine to reduce risk of cancer, heart diseases and other health issues associated with high stress.

Driving leads to prolonged exposure to pollution

When you are inside the car, you think you are safe from the pollution outside. The truth, however, is different and scary. Air-conditioned cars are also high on pollution levels inside. Cars contribute a lot to air pollution by releasing gases and compounds in the atmosphere that can be toxic. Cars, when stuck in traffic jams, also contribute to noise pollution which can increase stress levels, impair hearing, and cause headaches. According to the data from the Environmental Protection Agency, an average adult breathes 3,400 gallons of air a day. If you drive for around 2 hours a day, you inhale gallons of polluted air which can cause asthma and other lung problems, and worsen the symptoms if you already have them.

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