Take a Telecommute and See Me in the Morning

Long commutes can be dangerous to your health, reports Eric Weiss with the Washington Post. He leads his story with this anecdote:

For seven years, Gail Ennis has been spending up to three hours a day behind the wheel of her Subaru, commuting between her law office in Washington and her home on Gibson Island in Anne Arundel County. What she’s gotten out of the 100-mile
daily round trip is sciatica — a shooting pain down one leg — and a lack of time for exercise. “It’s just too much and getting worse every year,” Ennis said.

Researchers have found that road warriors with long commutes get sick more often and stay home more often. They work out less, are prone to high blood pressure, and suffer more headaches and chest pains. Robert G. Squillante, an orthopedic surgeon in Fredericksburg, said constant road vibrations and sitting in the same position for a long time is bad for the neck and spine and puts special pressure on the bottom disc in the lower back, the one most likely to deteriorate over the years.

When the Texas Transportation Institute calculates the cost of traffic congestion, I do not believe that it considers these hidden medical costs. Virginia’s transportation system is even more dysfunctional than commonly acknowledged.

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3 responses to “Take a Telecommute and See Me in the Morning”

  1. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Nice coverage.

    All that is missing is that politicos are still saying “vote for me and I will imporve the commute” and Business As Usual types are saying “spending money on more roadways will imporve the commute.”

    As we point out in “The Commuting Problem” 17 Jan 2005 at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com, there is no solution for the commuting problem except to stop commuting.


  2. Ray Hyde Avatar

    So which is worse sitting inthe car for an hour, or being jammed into a crowded train seat with inadequate legroom for an hour?

    EMR is right, we ought to stop commuting. Now, if only all the jobs weren’t in one spot, maybe we’d have a chance.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Speaking of being sick more often, spent much time riding the subway? Ever wonder why Japanese wear masks?

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