Who doesn't like to go shopping? For some of us, it is especially heavy lifting. However, with the Internet at the tip of our fingers, many of us don't even need to leave our house anymore to make purchases. This lack of physical activity, though, could have repercussions on our health.
According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), who did a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults aged 55 and over, 24 percent of those over 65 said they never do any strengthening exercises during the week, whilst 9 percent only do them once every couple of days.
The national activity guidelines recommend at least two forms of strengthening exercises a week, in addition to 150 minutes of workout. Experts have shared that for those under 64, lifting weights or carrying groceries can be included as a form of strengthening exercise.
For people over the age of 65, staying fit includes simple exercises like dance or chair aerobics. Without any form of exercise, these individuals are at a greater risk of injury and falls. According to the NHS, older people are more at risk of falling due to muscle weakness and balance issues from inactivity. Not only that, but one in three adults aged over 65 who live at home fall at least once a year. This costs the NHS more than $1 billion a year, mainly due to fractures from falls (in particular hip fractures).
“We must move past the idea that becoming weaker and frailer is inevitable as we get older," Karen Middleton, chief executive of CSP, said in press release. “Research shows getting stronger brings a whole host of health benefits so it is incredibly important that people don’t overlook strengthening when being active.”
She also shared that although online shopping is easier and less time-consuming, “it does mean that we are losing some of the methods that used to exist for strengthening our muscles."
“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 bodyweight 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.”
As Dr Justin Varney, head of Adult Health and Public Health England, told the Telegraph: "Your bones start to weaken from your late 20s and muscle mass shrinks from 40, plus musculoskeletal conditions are the biggest cause of sickness absence from work."
The takeaway: Exercise now and you'll benefit as you age.