Q and A: Building back muscles over 50


Building back muscle mass after 50 is possible. It takes the proper knowledge and tools to do it.

Jessica Davis, a physical therapist with Valley Health, answers six questions geared to gaining and maintaining back muscles.

Q: We see a lot of older individuals hunched over. Why? How is this prevented?

A. “Prolonged poor posture results in thoracic kyphosis or being hunched over as you say,” she explained. “Sometimes it is from calcium loss in the bones/osteoporosis, but some of it is just from prolonged bad habits. Good posture is a result of awareness, and there are some simple exercises to improve posture, but they need to be done consistently over the years as we age. “

Suzanne Loveland, a physical therapist with Valley Health, teaches a class called Healthy Bones for people wanting to improve their posture.  Individuals can sign up for it through Parks and Rec.  Davis said she recommends the class to a lot of her clients.


Q: How can you prevent age-related muscle loss?

A. Davis said staying healthy and active is important in maintaining muscles.

“Doing weight training at least three times a week on a consistent basis is a great way to prevent some of the age-related muscle mass loss.”


Q: Wha exercises are good to maintain or build back muscles over 50?

A. Try the following:

  • Squat to chair.
  • Reverse lunge.
  • Seated overhead press.
  • Standing calf raise.
  • Bent over row.
  • Superman.
  • Chest fly.
  • Dumbbell pullover.
  • Biceps hammer curl.
  • Basic abs.


Q: Does strength training benefit aging bodies?

A. “Improved cardiac health, weight loss, increased energy levels, improved control of diabetes, helps to prevent muscle loss, improved balance and improved attitude towards life.”


Q: Can you offer some tips for staying free of back pain?

A. Maintaining consistency and always being aware of good posture is the key to good back health.

  • Always sit with lumbar support.
  • Arch back backward multiple times throughout the day.
  • If you tend to do activities where you bend forward a lot, get up and walk at least every hour.
  • If you have a sit-down job, get a veradesk if you can, it allows you to change positions at work.

“Whether it is consistently being aware of good posture, or consistently exercising, or consistently maintaining the arch in your lower back, is the key to back health as it is with everything else that we do if we want to be healthy over time.”