HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new study may show commuting long hours to and from work may do more harm to your health than you thought.
1AND1 is a Black-owned mental health and wellness company that investigated the health, happiness and productivity of people who work from home (WFH) compared to those who commute.
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What they found was more than half, 58% said the biggest benefit of not having to commute is being able to spend more time with family. Twenty percent said they like getting more hours of sleep, and 14% said they now have more time to get household chores done.
Their study also found nearly 1 in 10 love the added bonus of being able to have a proper workout in the morning. When people swapped their morning commute for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or doing an online Zumba or Yoga class, they became healthier in the pandemic.
The health organization said reducing the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, stress and fatigue can play a huge role in your mental health.
Their study found more than 183,000 Hawaii residents’ health improved last year when they stopped commuting to and from work.
Kanika Nikki Utley is a wellness lifestyle coach and author of Stay Bold. She said going back to work and braving the long commutes is sometimes unavoidable, however you can still take time out of your day to stay active and mindful.
“Use your daily driving commute to help you practice conscious thinking and improve your mindfulness,” said Utley. “Before you shift into drive, sit for a moment. Shift your focus to your breath. Take a deep inhale through the nose and open mouth exhale.”
Utley said before sitting at your office desk, check in with your mind and before diving into a load of work check in with your mind.
“BrainTap sessions bring down the rapid brain waves that trigger tension while ramping up the brain waves that counteract stress, leaving you feeling calm, motivated and happy,” said Utley. Start with 7 brain taps on the following: Temples, third eye (in between eyebrows), under eyes and crown of head.”
She also said chair workouts are a great way to get the blood circulating throughout the body and be low impact movements.
“Chair exercises are a great low-impact way to incorporate movement into your routine,” said Utley. “Most people can burn 120 to 250 calories in a 32-minute session, and with weights or resistance bands the calorie burn is even more.”
She said standing or sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on your muscles. To prevent or reduce stiffness and pain, she suggests trying simple office stretches throughout the day.
Utley hosts wellness events and retreats throughout the year. Her next one is coming up on Saturday, March 26 in Manoa Park. At the upcoming event Trap Yoga, meditation, sound therapy and mini massages will be available. If you are interested in signing up, click here.
Squeezing in workout time as a commuter is all about time management said Utley. Every minute counts. Anytime in your car, engage in car meditation. Anytime you check your phone, drink water.
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“Anytime you stop to talk to a co-worker, perform a stretch exercise. Anytime you complete a call, engage in square breathing,” said Utley. “Anytime you grab an office snack, complete the chair exercise. You’ll feel so much better, and you will be far more productive. When you feel good, you do good.”