Hello there. Welcome to part two of our three part series on how to improve your driving skills. In this article, I am going to explore some ideas that will introduce you to exercises that can improve your coordination while driving. It has been proven that if a driver can speed up their reaction time, they will be safer drivers. Yet while this article will introduce these concepts to you, they do not in any way replace a real driving classroom situation, or what your qualified medical professional will tell you. However, it is very exciting to think that with some great ideas, we can go out and get the help we need to drive safely for many more years to come!
Let me just review an important point we covered last time; when is the right time to give up driving? I break this down into two categories; “the you” that knows how to drive, and your body:
- There’s “the you” that knows how to drive: You are conscientious, considerate, know the laws, has a wonderful record, is a class act, and over all is a fantastic driver.
- Then there is your body which slows down as times goes on, isn’t helped by medications, is stiffer, and its’ reflexes slower.
You will always know how to drive, yet your body will not. Slow reflexes, whether from age, medications, diet, etc. is the same as having a drink or two in your system. Slow reflexes are the same as drunk driving. It takes a very wise person to say to accept this and voluntarily give up driving when the time is right. Something to consider. In the meantime however, let’s learn some driving coordination exercises to get you started.
Driving Hand-Eye Coordination Exercises:
Hand-eye coordination exercises, or in our case, hand-eye-foot coordination exercises remind the brain to make the eye and muscles of the hands and feet work together. And like most things in our physical body, if we haven’t done these movements for a while, while our brain may know what to do, yet our body may not.
This particular area of skills is the world of the occupational therapist, and this is the person you should see for specific exercises based on your needs. In the meantime, let me share with you my favorite set of hand-eye-foot coordination exercises:
The Key Toss Stomp
I was lecturing at a retirement home in Pasadena years ago with a medical doctor and an occupational therapist. The topic was driving, and each of us was covering our fields of expertise. The doctor was speaking on vision checks and medications. I was speaking about posture and the Wizards Twist (Decembers article-Part 1 of this series), and the occupational therapist was showing exercises, the most popular of which was the Key Toss Stomp.
Here’s how to do this:
Sit in a chair, with both feet flat on the floor. Put your keys in one hand, and toss them up about a foot or so, and catch them with the other hand. Now while you do this, pick up a foot, it doesn’t matter which one, and gently stomp it on the ground. So as you toss your keys, stomp your foot. Then toss them into your other hand, and stomp the other foot. You can then make up other combinations, such as stomping one foot and then the other with each toss. Do this at least 10 to 20 times, once a day.
This is an example of the kind of hand-eye-foot exercises that can help speed up reaction times. Yet this is only a quick example, and quite incomplete; your best bet is to attend a driving class or speak to an occupational therapist for additional and specific exercises.
Thanks for your commitment to better driving, life, and sharing this! Best Blessings of Health from the Wizard of Youth.
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at John@wizardofyouth.com and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com and http://fitness4charity.org