Man driving with wife

Tips for the Driving Seniors of Washington

If you’re one of the seniors in Washington, then you’re not alone. Contrary to what many people believe, the millennials don’t have the monopoly of the Evergreen State. More than a million of the residents are at least 65 years old. If you hold an active driver’s license, you are not an isolated case, either. From 2016 to 2017, the number of seniors with such a license grew by more than 45,000.

The fact that many older adults are still behind the wheel in Washington shouldn’t come as a surprise. For one, the state is one of the healthiest in the country. It ranked low in the 2017 State of Obesity Report. It also had lower cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, which can disrupt an older person’s driving skills. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do something to maintain or improve your health. Here is how you can keep your aging body still fit to drive:

1. Exercise

When you want to become healthy, exercise is a given. But it’s even more important for the seniors. One, it helps reduce the risks of fall, which can result in fractures and injuries. These can significantly limit mobility. They can even prevent you from driving again. New studies also suggest a relationship between memory loss and exercise. A 2018 US study revealed that it might prevent the onset of a rare type of Alzheimer’s disease.

What exercises are best for the seniors? They already have plenty of options today. In Seattle, personal trainers can develop workouts that suit your fitness level, age, and goals. They also don’t need to take a lot of time each day. The likes of CrossFit, for example, can take less than an hour three times a week.

2. Do Some Perceptual Training

As the person ages, they can also develop some types of vision impairment. For example, they might no longer see peripheral objects or have trouble focusing on a central item. While older people can wear glasses, a 2010 study suggested that perceptual training can also help.

Perceptual training is the process of exposing the senses such as the eyes to stimuli, according to the objectives. These can include enhancing the remaining vision. In the University of California-Riverside study, the researchers worked with participants who underwent a texture discrimination test. It meant that they had to determine the object at the center or the periphery while sifting through the lines. This experiment revealed that older adults, even with their limited vision, retained the improvement for about three months.

3. Perform Some Hand Exercises

Senior driving with a red car

More modern cars come with an array of safety and driving features. An automatic transmission, for instance, means that the driver doesn’t need to be engaged with the gears all the time. Concept vehicles feature semi even to complete autonomy.

Until then, though, drivers still need to use their hands while on the wheel. Grip, therefore, is essential. To improve dexterity and strength, senior drivers can do some hand exercises. These include making a fist or bending the fingers multiple times, especially before driving.

Driving can do wonders for the older adults. It helps improve their mobility and focus. It gives them a sense of fulfillment and independence. To make sure that you don’t lose these benefits, take time to take care of your health and strengthen the body parts that you need when on the road.

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