Nevertheless, apparently I am wise to avoid traffic whenever possible, as Grist reports that sitting in traffic apparently triggers more heart attacks than eating, alcohol, cocaine, and sex:
Air pollution from auto exhaust triggers a greater proportion of all heart attacks (7.4 percent) than physical exertion (6.2 percent), drinking alcohol or coffee (5 percent), exposure to air pollution in general (4.8 percent), negative emotions (3.9 percent), anger (3.1 percent), a heavy meal (2.7 percent), positive emotions (2.4 percent), sex (2.2 percent), or cocaine (<1 percent).Reuters confirms that just sitting in traffic is the single biggest heart attack trigger:
"Of the triggers for heart attack studied, cocaine is the most likely to trigger an event in an individual, but traffic has the greatest population effect as more people are exposed to (it)," the researchers wrote.So, here's to avoiding traffic whenever possible.
As a reminder of the health benefits of avoiding traffic, here's a video of an 8.5 hour commute home from D.C. to the Virginia suburbs that happened as a result of the January 26, 2011 Commutageddon storm (my trip home that day took a mere 2 hours ... thank goodness for small blessings, right?). This is what I do my best to avoid:
Just watching that video raises my blood pressure!
P.S. After writing the first draft of this post, I came across this tidbit that helps explain why D.C. metro traffic is so bad - apparently no one driving around in the D.C. metro area knows where they're going. Watching people try to navigate the highway exchanges and downtown roads, I can't say I'm surprised by these findings.