The association of physical activity, cognitive processes and automobile driving ability in older adults: A review of the literature

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Abstract

As the number of older adults in the United States grows, the number of automobile drivers over the age of 65 will also increase. Several cognitive processes necessary for automobile driving are vulnerable to age-related decline. These include declines in executive function, working memory, attention, and speed of information processing. The benefits of physical activity on physical, psychological and particular cognitive processes are well-documented; however few studies have explored the relationship between physical activity and driving ability in older adults or examined if cognitive processes mediate (or moderate) the effect of physical activity on driving ability. The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature regarding physical activity, cognition and automobile driving. Recommendations for further research and utility of the findings to nursing and the health care team are provided.

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