By Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
New research in Denmark shows that people exercise less when they live near noisy roads. The researchers found that for every 10 decibel increase in traffic noise, people were 5% less likely to exercise.
In general, a few simple habits can have a dramatic effect on health and longevity:
- Don’t smoke
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight, and
- Exercise regularly.
Anything that discourages healthy habits–and traffic noise now seems to fall into this category–is bad for health.
And the reason why traffic noise seems to decrease exercise? It isn’t clear. It may be that traffic noise disrupts sleep, so people exposed to the noise just lack the energy to get moving, but whatever the reason this study provides yet another reason why cities must control traffic noise.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.