Ready, Set, Go! How Exercise Benefits Older Drivers

older driver awareness

older driver awareness exercise matters

Exercise Benefits Older Drivers

It’s important to understand exercise can benefit the abilities of older drivers. While many know it can improve stress and weight loss few understand how it affects driving.

Consider these points:

  1. The ability to easily maneuver in and out of a car.
  2. The range of motion to turn their head when changing lanes or to back up.
  3. The hand grip strength needed to grasp the steering wheel.

A Commitment to Exercise

A 75-year-old student of mine once asked me, “My job in retirement is to improve my health?” My answer absolutely! The ability to age well is complex and there is no one answer. Instead, it’s a series of choices and connections. For many older adults, physical exercise is not connected to keeping their driver license. As a family member, take the opportunity and make a connection.

Community Resources

The Older Americans Act provides funding to community health promotion programs. Consider these local programs as part of a strategy to stay behind the wheel. In San Diego Aging & Independence Services the program Feeling Fit Clubs. The clubs are offered throughout the county and on cable television. In addition, some Medicare Advantage plans provide SilverSneakers a senior exercise program as a benefit. Additionally, consult the Eldercare Locator for local resources in your community. Finally, driving in older age means creating and taking action. For more ideas, please contact me or comment on this post.

About the Author

Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, the City of San Diego honored her for launching Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. 

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