The digital age is surely making shopping easier and accessible for many. While online stores are giving us convenience in many matters, they are ruining our muscles, according to a group of physiotherapists. According to a new study, by staying at home and ordering everything directly, people are missing out on a whole load of essential muscle-strengthening exercises.
A poll of more than 2,000 people found 24% of those aged 65 and over admit that they now do no strengthening activities at all each week. This puts them at increasing risk of falls and other health problems. Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said, “Online shopping may be very convenient but it does mean that we are losing some of the methods that used to exist for strengthening our muscles. We’re carrying fewer bags home from the supermarket because it arrives at our door.”
She added, “We’re also waiting at home for other goods to be delivered when in the past we would have gone out to buy them. This isn’t an argument against progress. It’s just to show that maintaining strength and being active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, and we should look for ways to build it into our everyday lives.”
National Health Service guidelines recommend two strengthening exercise sessions a week, be it weight-lifting or simply carrying home your weekly grocery. Karen continued, “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 and out of a chair 10 times.”
Dr Justin Varney, Head of Adult Health at Public Health England, said, “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.”
“So it’s not only older people who need to act. Include bone and muscle strengthening and balance-boosting activities into your daily routine and you’ll benefit as you age, increasing the chances of being free from chronic musculoskeletal illness in your 40s, 50s and beyond,” added Karen.
Programme lead for Physical Activity at the Centre for Ageing Better, Jess Kuehne, concluded by saying, “We know that undertaking regular activity to strengthen muscles and improve balance can have a significant impact on the quality of your life as you get older and reduce your risk of falls.