Long Work Commute = Obesity and Lower Productivity

Last week, personal trainers learned in the HBO documentary series Weight of the Nation, that the obesity epidemic has far-reaching consequences for our country and our economy. Factors contributing to the obesity epidemic include sedentary behavior, poor nutritional choices, patterns from early childhood and even poverty. But who would have thought your daily commute would have something to do with it?

Last month, U.S. News reported on a study demonstrating that if a person’s commute to work was more than fifteen miles, they were more likely to be obese. Other health conditions like diabetes and even some forms of cancer were also linked to a long work commute.

It’s simple, really: time spent in the car takes away from time spent exercising. But what can you do about it?

In a tough economy, companies are doing everything they can to achieve two goals: maximize productivity and improve employee retention. (That is good news for you.)
Many forward-thinking companies are accomplishing increased productivity and improved employee retention by adding wellness programs for their employees. After all, research repeatedly shows that a healthy individual is more likely to be more productive in the workplace. Research also demonstrates that employee retention is increased when wellness plans are offered to employees.

One Minneapolis business owner offered self-defense classes taught by a former Navy Seal to his employees. It sent a strong message that he cared about their safety and their well-being.

Another company offers O2 on the Go; a paid hour of cardiovascular exercise for employees. Additionally, this company offers work stations on treadmills and an on-site workout facility.

Another employer allows employees to cash in sick days to buy fitness equipment. (This is one that personal trainers love!)

All of these things can combat the effects of a long work commute, however, keep in mind that your health and well-being trump everything. Consider talking to your employer about an open campus or off-site arrangement. I have yet to see quantitative research that unequivocally proves that productivity is increased in a cubicle.  🙂

The last thing an employer wants is unhealthy employees. And the last thing this country needs is more people landing in the obese category.

For more information on personal trainer education and the Health Fitness Specialist degrees at Globe University, click here.