Online shopping is ruining people’s muscles as they fail to carry home their own groceries, experts have said.
According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the purchase of more and more goods on the internet means people are losing muscle-strengthening exercises that help keep them healthy into older age.
Its poll of more than 2,000 people found 24% of those aged 65 and over do no strengthening activities at all each week, putting them at increasing risk of falls and other health problems.
NHS guidelines suggest people do two strengthening sessions a week, such as exercising with weights, or lifting and carrying heavy loads such as groceries.
For people aged 65 and over, the sessions can also include activities that involve stepping and jumping, such as dancing.
Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “We’re carrying fewer bags home from the supermarket because it arrives at our door.
“We’re also waiting at home for other goods to be delivered when in the past we would have gone out to buy them.
“Being active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, and we should look for ways to build it into our everyday lives.”
She said people should not think that becoming weaker and frailer was an inevitable part of getting older.
“As the guidelines set out, it doesn’t mean immediately hitting the gym to lift weights. To start, it can be digging in the garden or simple body-weight exercises like standing up out of a chair 10 times.
“There are easy ways to do it but the essential thing is to get started and these poll results show a lot of work needs to be done to get that message out.”