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Exercises for driving?

What? Exercises for safe driving? Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health is suggesting some specific exercises that may help older drivers.


I probably don't have to remind most of you that ss we age, our joints get stiffer and our muscles get weaker. Reflexes and reactions slow down a little. Simple things like quickly turning our head from side to side is affected as we age. Many older adults also have had knee replacements or are adversely affected by various arthritic conditions.


These are some of the reasons why the National Institute on Aging at the NIH came out with suggested exercises for older drivers. In fact, they noted that in one study, “12 weeks of exercise improved older drivers’ flexibility and coordination, and reduced driving errors”. Here are the recommended exercises:


  • Hand grip strenghtening to help you hold on to the steering wheel. (You can simply squeeze something like a tennis ball.)

  • Shoulder and upper arm flexibility to make it easier to reach for your seat belt. (Simply stretch in various directions holding both ends of a towel behind your back.)

  • Neck and back flexibility exercises to help you turn to look behind you when backing out of a parking space or driveway. (For the neck, slowly turn your head up and down and from side to side; and for back flexibility, securely sit in a sturdy chair and slowly bend forward at the hips keeping your back and neck straight.)

  • Lower-body strength exercises to help with accelerating and braking. (Any lower body exercise you are comfortable doing will help.

Please see https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercises/strength


And for educational resources for older drivers, see https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/older-drivers

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