Gregory D. Hamilton
Strength Training and Aging!
Lifting Weights to Push What’s Possible at 61
India Bridgette is a professor in the course titled “What’s Possible?”
The 61-year-old champion sprinter and former Marine knows it takes discipline to answer that question and to excel at anything.
She recently added strength training to that answer, too – for everyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, or fitness goals. Working out with weights has helped her show What’s Possible on the track and in everyday life. She’s learned that, for older adults, weightlifting gives self-governance and a pre-emptive strike against the aspects of aging that otherwise can limit our quality of life. (That’s her in the photo above from the Florida Sports Association.)
“I appreciate being able to lift my grocery bags in one session instead of going back a couple of times,” India says. “And just the mobility I get from the strength training is big every day, not just on the track.”
Bridgette is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in her age group in the 50-meter dash, the 100, and the 200. She started strength training in January 2022 and saw a noticeable difference in her performance on the track and everyday mobility.
“The weight training has given me the strength for the endurance to enhance my speed,” India says. “People think the sprinting, the speed, comes from your legs. But the actual speed comes from the core and the arms, the pumping of the arms because as fast as you can pump your arms up and down is as fast as your legs are going to move up and down.
“So having that extra core strength and muscle strength in your upper body assists with the movement of how fast your legs can move.”
Weight training also helps with the endurance it takes to travel internationally and compete in multiple events over a few days. It’s improved her bone density to that of a woman 10 years younger.
Reasons to Start Weightlifting Now
Resistance training is crucial for everyone since we all lose muscle mass as we age. Muscle is key to performing the tasks of daily living – like standing up from the couch – whether you’re a competitive athlete or not.
Eases arthritis pain
Lowers blood pressure
Builds strong bones
Improves brain function and health
And fights depression – among many other proven benefits.
India recommends starting with a personal trainer for anyone new to resistance training. Talk about why you want to become stronger, and your lifestyle.
It can do for you what it did for her. It expanded the answer to the question, What’s Possible?
Even after India’s military service and countless track medals, she still yearned to find out what was inside of her.
“I just felt like there’s so much more in me,” she says, prompting that question over and over: What’s Possible?
It’s a question we can all ask ourselves throughout life. Tell me about it, and I’ll start helping you shape the answer.