When older drivers have their keys taken away, it's like stealing their independence, too. According to the AAA Foundation, once the car keys are taken away, it's much more likely that older people will suffer depression compared to those adults who stay behind the wheel.

The non-profit auto club released a research study that said older drivers can safely stay driving, and avoid isolation and depression, by exercising and stretching. They found that older adults who do not exercise are fatigued and in poor physical condition, leading factors in causing them to limit their driving.

The study found that exercise and stretching helped make it more likely that older drivers could execute better the essentials for good driving, like braking, steering and parking, and being able to turn and look to the side and the rear.

Massachusetts has a growing population of older drivers, including many who rely on public transportation and services like The RIDE. Older drivers who give up their keys are more likely to suffer from isolation and anxiety, always depending on someone else to drive them places. In order to keep older adults more independent, they should exercise moderately between 2.5 and five hours each week, or between 75 minutes and 2.5 hours of high-intensity physical exercise every week.

It's the tip to keep older drivers behind the wheel.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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