It’s no surprise to anyone who lives here: LA is in the top 10 for U.S. cities with the most traffic. Most of us hate it. In fact, one small, local study revealed that hundreds of people have quit jobs because of a lousy, time-consuming commute. Traffic can affect not only your car, but your physical and mental health, too.
At AltaMed, we may not be able to do much about the traffic, but we have tips to reduce its effects on your body, mind, and life. Read on to learn more – hopefully before your next bumper-to-bumper commute.
The Problem: A Sore, Achy Back
Sitting in traffic for long periods can put stress on your spine, or worsen existing back pain. Too much sitting is also bad for your heart. We can help with both!
Solution: Make time in your day to exercise and keep your body loose. Maintaining good posture while you drive may also help. If you sit at a desk for work, make time for these exercises (especially the quad stretch) to keep your back feeling strong and stretchy.
The Problem: Your Stress Is Through the Roof
An employment firm ran a study of daily commuters and found that LA traffic is the most stressful in the nation. A clenched jaw, tension headaches, and short temper, are all symptoms of stress.
Solutions: Coping with stress is one of the most important skills you can ever develop. Try a few of these tips – you can do the focused breathing anywhere, at any time, just so long as you keep your eyes open and focused on the road.
The Problem: Social Isolation and Loneliness
We spend hours of our days in our cars alone. Long, congested commutes can make us feel run-down and use time we could spend with friends and family. Quite simply, traffic can cause loneliness – and if loneliness isn’t dealt with, it can cause other problems such as depression, difficulty sleeping, and heart disease.
Solutions: Social connections and interactions with friends and loved ones are an important part of your life. Even if you do battle traffic regularly, make time to see the people who matter to you.
You might also consider joining a carpool or other form of public transit. It’s a great way to socialize with new people and break up your routine. Studies have shown that those who walk or bike for their commute are happier, less stressed, and do better at their jobs, so that’s another option that can help you shake off loneliness and depression.
The Problem: Loss of Focus That Could Lead to Accidents
When you’re stuck in traffic, it’s a natural reaction to zone out and put yourself on auto pilot. You may even want to pick up your phone to entertain yourself. However, anything that distracts you or takes the focus of the road is dangerous. Almost as many people die from traffic accidents as breast cancer every year. Distracted driving is never safe.
Solutions: Keep your phone out of reach and minimize other distractions while you’re driving. Switch up a boring commute by trying different routes. If you use an app like Waze, take a route that helps you avoid the freeway. You can also try carpooling, walking, or biking.
You Won’t Have to Fight Traffic to Visit Us
Whether you’re experiencing physical or mental health problems related to your commute, we can help. AltaMed sites are conveniently located in communities all over Southern California. We also have a large network of doctors, so friendly, quality care is never far from where you are. Call us today at (877) 499-9303 to make an appointment.