Commuting times have increased 72 per cent over the last decade, and according to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) it is associated with ‘increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI; as well as reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping’1.
The average commuter also apparently eats an extra 767 calories a week as a result of snacking on the way and having less time to prepare healthy meals1.
So, what can we do to help commuters?
The RSPH has called on Network Rail to restrict the proliferation of junk food outlets in stations, which is a start, but here are some health tips to combat such physiological effects of commuting:
- Read a relaxing book or meditate on your journey, to ensure the nervous system is relaxed and not in ‘fight and flight’ mode. This also helps to digest the food you do eat, but keeping it as healthy as possible gives further benefits – see point 2.
- Prepare healthy meals to take with you on your commute to avoid grabbing unhealthy snacks at the station – for example, nuts, seeds, a piece of fruit, leftover lunch, salads etc.
- Drink fresh lemon in water first thing, which not only boosts the immune system (due to its high Vitamin C content), but it also supports the adrenals helping to combat the stress of commuting.
- Supplement with a probiotic. 70% of our immune system is in the gut so it is important to have healthy gut flora to help us defend against any viruses.
- Supplement with a good immune booster with plenty of antioxidants such as bee propolis, olive leaf extract and elderberry. These ingredients can be found in just one product for easy use, called Bee Prepared daily immune support. It is suitable for most ages and you can open the capsule contents into smoothies and yogurts for those who cannot swallow capsules.
1Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Health in a Hurry: The impact of rush hour on our health and wellbeing (2016) Available at: https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/championing-the-publics-health/health-in-a-hurry.html