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The most dreadful part of getting to work and getting back home in the evening is the being stuck in a traffic jam. Whether you’re driving yourself or being driven home, a traffic jam can sap your spirits and make you feel tired even though you’re not really exerting yourself. According to a recent study, these traffic jams not only increase your stress levels, but also make your body susceptible to cancer.
Yes! They can be a major reason behind your ill health-
- Bumper to bumper traffic that moves at snail pace can be very stressful, especially if you have to get somewhere at a particular time. The irritation of not being able to move at your desired pace adds on to the million other things going on in your mind. The body reacts to stress by increasing blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Long term stress can lead to digestive problems, fertility issues and a weakened immune system that makes the body vulnerable to other diseases and infections. Stress can also lead to the development of behavior like smoking, drinking and over eating which can increase a person’s risk of cancer.
- Pollution levels are highest at traffic signals and at traffic jams. This is because at a busy intersection, cars go through various stages such as accelerating, braking and idling in a restricted space. Each of these actions is accompanied with emission of toxic gases and fine particles of matter which concentrate in an area and take longer to disperse. Contrary to popular belief, people in cars can be more affected by these pollutants than pedestrians. This is especially true in cases where people have their windows up and fans on as the fans suck in polluted air leading to a buildup of toxic gases inside the car. When these gases and particulate matter are inhaled, they get stuck in the nose and throat and are absorbed into the blood stream. Long term exposure to this can have serious negative effects on the body including a higher risk to cancer. To avoid this, ensure that the setting of the ac of your car or fan is set to only circulate air inside the car without drawing in polluted air from outside.
Also, try and find ways to avoid traffic jams. If your office allows, maybe you could try changing your timing a little. Experiment with routes. Often the inner roads have more twists and turns but much less traffic.