According to a 2007 Gallup poll, the average commuter spends nearly 200 hours per year driving to and from work. Are you spending hours a week behind the wheel? If so, commuting may be chipping away at your overall well-being. Prolonged sitting coupled with the vibrations produced by the tires hitting the road can wreak havoc on the spine. Driving may also be emotionally stressful and exact a psychological toll. Dr. Bagley at Vital Force Clinic is concerned about the effects of commuting on patients’ health and offer suggestions to help.

Keep up with Chiropractic care.

Hit the road rested. A healthy commute starts the night before with adequate sleep.

Sit comfortably. Move the driver’s seat as close to the steering wheel as is comfortable, and fine-tune seat position so that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.

Make the most of red lights. Try rolling or shaking out your shoulders at each stop.

Enjoy soothing scents. Research shows that lavender and rosemary scents decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. (Psychiatry Res 2007;150:89-96).

Breathe deeply.

Get a gentle grip of the steering wheel.

Make your car a haven. Remove trash daily.

Fuel your body. Nuts and dried or fresh fruit are travel-friendly options.

Drink smart. Choose herbal tea or water for the drive. Stay hydrated without the jitters.

Take a musical journey. Music is said to soothe the savage beast — and it can also soothe the stressed-out commuter.

Learn on the road. Try an audiobook or podcast on a topic that will enrich your life.

Rest your eyes. Shift your focal point occasionally. This lessens the risk of eye strain and tension headaches.

Keep a positive attitude. Let that other car merge in front of you.

Buddy up. Carpooling is also good for mental health.