Do You Know What Your Commute is Doing to Your Heart? I Do

I don’t have a long commute.

On a normal day my morning drive is 25 minutes (including delivering kid 1 to school) and my drive home is 20 minutes. Half of that is city, half highway. The province recently finished expanding the ugly core of my highway drive to 6 lanes (from three), so there is rarely a problem with traffic. In all, a pretty low stress commute, right?

Well, yes, but LOW stress doesn’t mean NO stress.  I mean, we all know driving is stressful, at least all of us who drive know it, but can we quantify it? Yes.

I’ve written about my resting heartrate. Sitting in my easy chair, on a Saturday afternoon, reading a book, with my boys playing nearby, I get a reading of 59 – 62. At the doctor’s office, having my blood pressure taken, I have a number of 59.

After my brief, low stress commute, sitting at my desk 15 minutes after arrival (to allow the rate to normalize), I get a reading around 75, and it takes an hour to drop into the low 60s.

I think I’m seeing another reason my average resting heartrate reading has risen since getting back from Christmas vacation.