Commuting takes toll on heart

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The Independent Online
Long-distance commuting may be bad for the heart, doctors reported yesterday. A study in Japan, where people often live far from their work, showed that those commuting long distances suffered unusually pronounced variations in their heart rate.

Although this may not be harmful in itself, the researchers wrote in the Lancet medical journal: "They may induce cardiovascular abnormalities or dysfunctions related to the onset of heart disease." Dr T Kageyama and a team from the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, tested the heart rates of 223 men working in a private company in Tokyo.

They found that men who commuted for 90 minutes or more had more pronounced variations in their heart rate than those who commuted for less time. A similar difference was seen for those who did overtime. The researchers suspected chronic stress or fatigue caused by excessive travelling time and work hours affected the stability of heart rate.