During the summer, many students have internships and jobs that involve commuting. Commuting can be viewed as a necessary evil or the best part of your day. No matter how you view it, the habits that you have on your commute add up and can affect your physical and mental health — often negatively, as studies such as one by BioMed Central have shown. 

I am no stranger to long commutes. For the past two summers, I've spent 3.5 hours commuting every day to and from work. My trip involves one long train ride, one short skytrain/subway trip, and one short bus ride. During that time, I've seen many different types of travellers, learned new city routes, and tried my best to follow these healthy tips wherever possible. 

1. Bring Breakfast.

apple, sweet, crepe
Jamie Rhee

On my morning commute, I am the only one ever eating breakfast. Maybe my fellow commuters are less lazy than I am and wake up a few minutes early, but I would be willing to bet that many of them skip breakfast. Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason, and you should never let your morning commute take that away from you.

If you don't have time to eat before you leave, bringing food with you ensures that you start your day with much-needed nutrients and avoid buying a less healthy breakfast somewhere else. This helps both you and your wallet. If you have a painfully early commute, spending 5 minutes before bed to plan and prep your breakfast the next day goes a long way.

#SpoonTip: Never be ashamed to be the person eating breakfast out of a Mason jar. These to-go recipes will help with that. 

2. Bring Water.

Hannah Garey

During long commutes and those with lots of transfers, it's hard to find time to get water. If you're like me and forget to drink water while at work, you could end up dehydrated by the end of the day. I try to fill my water bottle before I go to bed at night and fill it again before I leave work, and there are plenty of additional tips that can help you drink more water during the day.

3. Move Around.

grass, water, pasture
Morgan Cleary

In health science classes, we've learned that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting uninterrupted for even one hour interferes with functioning of some cells in the body, which gives rise to "sitting disease". Long commutes are particularly bad for making people sit for long periods of time, and it's even worse if you're headed to a desk job.

There are tons of little things that you can do during your commute to move more and make your day just a little more mobile. Things like standing instead of sitting, biking part way, choosing the stairs, parking farther away from your work entrance, and getting off the bus a few stops early are good habits to work towards.

4. Practice Mindfulness.

water, tea, coffee
Gemima k. Cadet

Commuting can be stressful, especially if you're driving or taking a really crowded route. Turns out, that daily dose of stress is something that you could really do without in the long run. A recent study by ScienceDirect has shown that commute stress has serious public health and social implications. Check out this article for simple ways to reduce stress while on the go. 

Studies and surveys also suggest that commuters who drive are more stressed than commuters who use other methods. If you commute daily by car, consider more laid back options like transit or walking (if possible). Choosing the least stressful route and travel method is helpful in the long-term, even if it costs a few extra minutes.

5. Be Intentional.

orange, citrus, studying, notes, taking notes, notebook, textbook, study snack, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

Many people consider commuting as time taken out of their day. When you think of it that way, it's no wonder that people dread commuting. To avoid this toll on your mental health, be intentional about what you do during your commute time and how it fits into your day.

Since I spend so long commuting every day, I try to make sure that I make that time meaningful by doing something productive (like writing to-do lists and Spoon Articles) or by keeping myself entertained with music and books. If you're driving, try listening to a podcast or two. Believe it or not, but doing this actually makes my commute one of the best parts of my day. 

The habits that you have while commuting really do add up and affect your health — both mental and physical. Hopefully some of these tips can help make your commute have a more positive effect than negative.