Broadcasters are being urged to host more exercise classes for the over-50s after figures suggested older people have moved around less during the pandemic.
The Centre for Ageing Better and Derrick Evans, also known as Mr Motivator, called for immediate action to stem the decline in strength and activity among older age groups.
Figures earlier this month from Sport England showed that more than a third of over-55s believed their strength has declined since the outbreak of Covid-19, compared with 17% who thought it had increased.
Some 37% are doing less physical activity than they were this time last year, compared with 31% of those aged 16 to 34.
The Centre for Ageing Better and Mr Evans, 68, said there needs to be regular televised activity slots aimed at over-50s, who watch more TV than any other age group.
Mr Evans, who made his name doing workouts on breakfast TV, said: “The most important thing an older person can have is their health and independence.
“You cannot underestimate the impact that exercise can have on your mental and physical wellbeing.
“Our older people deserve to have access to regular, safe, effective and fun televised activities. Nobody should be excluded, no matter their age or ability.”
Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said the pandemic has had a “serious impact on people in their 50s and beyond, limiting the amount of physical exercise they have been able to do and causing a knock-on effect on their strength.”
She called for more live TV classes, adding: “We need to see urgent action taken to reverse this trend, or we risk seeing serious consequences for people’s long-term health in the years ahead.
“Good muscle strength is crucial to staying healthy and active, and preventing falls as we enter later life.
“Broadcasters have played a vital role in this pandemic and could play a crucial role here too.
“Televised activity classes, designed with the needs of over-50s in mind, would reach many people in this age group who have struggled to stay active over the past year, particularly those who are less likely to access this kind of content online.”
The BBC has featured Mr Evans and others including Joe Wicks for weekday segments during lockdown aimed at keeping people active.
The segments from Morning Live are also available to play back on BBC iPlayer and BBC Breakfast social media channels.
They include exercise routines from Strictly Come Dancing stars.