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Healthy Aging Tips from Sit and Be Fit's Mary Ann Wilson RN
Sit and Be Fit TV host, Mary Ann Wilson RN

Seven Exercises to Help You Keep Your Driving Skills Finely Tuned

By Mary Ann Wilson, RN

While we’re all attentive to keeping our vehicles in good working order to avoid break downs, few of us give much thought to tuning up the many areas of our body that contribute to safe driving. The good news is that there are a variety of easy exercises you can incorporate into your daily life that will improve your driving performance. Here’s a list of the types of exercises that can strengthen our driving skills:

1) reaction time exercises

2) hand/eye coordination exercises

3) peripheral vision exercises

4) brain exercises to improve processing time

5) neck and upper body flexibility exercises

6) vestibular system exercises

7) lower body strengthening exercises

Reaction Time and Hand/Eye Coordination

While you’re watching television there’s a simple way to work on both reaction time and hand/eye coordination. Using a ball, piece of fruit or balloon, play toss and catch with yourself during commercial breaks. Throw the ball upward in all different directions and at different heights to challenge yourself.  Practice this game seated and standing. If someone else is in the room with you get them involved by tossing it back and forth.

Peripheral Vision

Practice the same ball toss game above but this time keep the head and eyes looking forward. Intentionally challenge yourself by throwing the ball off to the sides. The object is to see the ball in your peripheral vision and react by catching it while still looking forward.


Slowly, with one hand trace a square in the air and with the other hand trace a circle. After giving it a good try, switch so that the hand that was originally tracing the circle is now trying to trace the square and vice versa. This forces the two different sides of your brain to work together in new ways.

Neck and Upper Body Flexibility /Vestibular System

The most important area to focus on with regards to upper body flexibility and the vestibular system are the muscles and movements of the neck. Begin in a seated position. As with all exercises start with good postural alignment. Rotate the neck to the right and then to the left slowly as if watching a tennis match. Keep the eyes forward as the head is moving back and forth. Next, with the same head movement follow with the eyes. Finally, lean forward slightly from the hip and look behind you in one direction. Sit back up. Lean forward again and look behind you in the opposite direction. Repeat several times.

Band exercises are included in workouts with Sit and Be Fit's Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Mary Ann Wilson, RN,

Lower Body Strengthening

This exercise can be done from a chair using an exercise resistance band. Place the band under the right foot and hold the ends of the band in both hands. Slowly bend the right knee and lift it so that the right foot comes off the ground. Extend the leg slowly working the quadriceps muscles. Repeat 8-12 times on the right leg and change legs. If you don’t feel enough resistance, tighten the grip on the band or increase the resistance of the band. This a great exercise to do every day either when your watching television or when you are working at your desk. Keep the band next to your chair so you can remind yourself to do the exercise.



Related Blogs:

Move To Improve Your Brain

Leg Strengthening for Balance


Recommended DVDs:

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  1. I just love Mary Ann and Gretchen, they are the best. I am 68 and do not like the exercises I did when I was younger but these are great. Unfortunately they took it off our TV channel again..the last time they did bring it back…I have to try again, I miss my 730 am wake up. Thanks girls, please keep it up! God bless you both.

  2. These exercise to improve driving skills are helpful Mary! Every time we are behind the steering wheel, we should really think that we are operating a dangerous machine. Even those who have experience or able to finish driver’s ed class should still strive to improve in what they do. Your tips are very timely to hone our skills for better and smarter driving. Will,

  3. Hey Mary,

    I often find myself struggling when it comes to driving. I don’t have that good of a body coordination and posture. Your post comes as a life saver here. I hope after doing these exercises my driving skills will at least improve significantly if not drastically.

    – Sam

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