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Diane Anderson loves life—and lifting

Amy Weiss | May 25, 2021


Diane Anderson has a competitive streak. And, always up for a challenge, she’s worked hard at Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge’s fitness center. Diane, at 79 years old, holds the community’s deadlifting record: 129 pounds… and counting.

Diane’s fitness journey started recently, at the end of January 2021. The day she received her COVID-19 vaccination, Diane met Samantha, the fitness technician. Sam helped Diane move a lamp into her apartment, and by the end of their interaction, Diane was signed up for personal training sessions.

Without much experience in fitness, sports, or exercise—she’d never touched weights before—Diane started slow. Sam began by helping Diane learn to squat. Each day she came to exercise, Diane used special equipment to work closer and closer to a full range of motion. Now she comes to lift with Sam three times per week, focusing on squats, overhead press, bench press, and deadlift. Deadlifting is Diane’s favorite exercise, and it just so happens to be the one she excels at. But personal bests aside, Diane is most grateful for how exercise has improved her day-to-day life. She’ll be the first to tell you her posture is better, and she no longer slumps while sitting in a chair. Now she has more energy and a more confident attitude. These improvements are giving Diane confidence that she won’t be held back when she takes a trip to France later this year.

diane-collage“Residents come in to exercise for different reasons,” explained Sam. “Some want to reduce fall risks or simply be more independent. Another resident came in with knee pain, and that pain lessened after three weeks of strengthening surrounding muscles. We make plans based on goals and abilities.”

And Diane’s remarkable abilities have surprised her in the best way. She loves sharing her latest achievements with her family, and her daughter even made barbell-shaped cookies for Diane’s birthday. “Some people can’t believe I can do it. At first, even I didn’t think I could. I’m proud knowing what I can do. I’m proud when I add more weight to my lifts. It gives me motivation—I love a challenge.”

Thanks to Sam’s help, plus her own dedication and positive attitude, Diane is adding weight to her lifts, gaining strength, and living a life she loves. She has no plans to stop anytime soon and quipped, “I’m more capable than I realized.”

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