Blog: The Healthiest Way to a Healthy You
by PaisleyH

The Role That Cars Play In Fitness

Here are a few ways that cars affect your health, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious.

Date:   8/21/2019 8:04:49 PM   ( 3 y ) ... viewed 1591 times

Modern life has changed our behaviors, and ultimately our health, in a number of ways. Evolutionarily, we took our present form after millions of years of fairly consistent lifestyle practices. Technology has changed what we do and how we interact with the world drastically. From the times of hunter-gatherer societies to now, we have shifted from an active lifestyle free of cars to a world where the family sedan has become a primary means of travel. Here are a few ways that cars affect your health, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious.

Cars Limit Aerobic Exercise

 

Previously, to get from point A to point B, the only option was walking or running. What about chasing down the next meal? In ancient times, this meant stalking prey while carrying a heavy tool like a spear. Now, fetching dinner is as easy as driving to the store and picking out food items from an aisle display. While these changes may have made life in the West more convenient, they have negated all the potent health benefits of aerobic exercise. Heart disease is now the number one killer in the industrialized world. It is true that heart disease has a variety of causes, but its link to decreased activity levels afforded by technology like cars cannot be ignored. In addition, lower levels of aerobic exercise are closely linked to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, both of which are major concerns in the West. Tens of millions of Americans are prescribed anti-depressant medications such as SSRIs. It is impossible to dispute that there is a correlation between deteriorated mental health and the increasing use of cars which eliminate the need for physical exercise.

Emissions from Cars

 

Vehicles powered by fossil fuel combustion are a major contributing factor to global warming which threatens the survival of humans and animal species and degrades the environment. This environmental degradation is also linked to many health problems. Public health researchers have long studied the well-established link between vehicle exhaust and many health conditions. Car exhaust contributes to or causes asthma, cancer, heart disease, and several autoimmune conditions. These problems are much more prevalent in urban areas where exposure to car exhaust is greater. Tiny particles called PM 2.5, which are emitted from vehicles and industrial activity, penetrate deep into the lungs and are difficult or impossible to remove.

Car Accidents Cause Disability and Death

 

While technology has improved in recent years in terms of safety, traveling by car is still dangerous and can impact health and fitness. Twenty to fifty million people are disabled every year from car accidents, sometimes in catastrophic ways like spinal cord injuries. In the future, self-driving cars may drastically reduce this number, but currently driving is still a major source of negative health impacts.

 

These are just a few ways that driving may harm your health and fitness. To mitigate these risk, consider walking when possible and avoiding traffic at peak times like during rush hour.

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