A personal trainer shares 4 longevity exercises she used to help clients in their 60s climb a mountain

A personal trainer shares 4 longevity exercises she used to help clients in their 60s climb a mountain
  • A 37-year-old personal trainer was the youngest in a group of people that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

  • She completed the trek with clients in their 60s and said strength training is key to aging well.

  • Exercises like rucking, planks, push-ups, and wall-sits have big benefits for longevity.

Jennifer Scherer never expected to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Despite plenty of enthusiasm for physical challenges, especially outdoors, trekking the highest mountain in Africa wasn't on her radar, the owner of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio in Virginia told Business Insider.

"I've been hiking my whole adult life but never done anything like this before," she said.

At 37, Scherer certainly never expected to be the youngest person in her group to take on the daunting task. But earlier this year, she braved intense cold and more than 19,000 feet of elevation with a group of senior athletes, most in their 60s and 70s.

Among the group were two of Scherer's clients, a couple in their 60s, who inspired her to take on the challenge.

She said training for the trek for herself and her clients involved functional exercises with major benefits for strength, endurance, and longevity.

Movements like weighted carries, push-ups, and planks aren't just for climbing mountains — they can also help you live a longer, healthier life.

"You're not training for some Olympic event, you're training to live a life that's better quality. People feel like they're more capable," Scherer said.

Rucking can build muscle, burn fat, and boost longevity

Scherer said a major part of training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro involved hiking with a weighted vest to help simulate the heavy pack of gear she'd need to carry.

Known as rucking, walking or jogging with weight provides unique benefits because it raises your heart rate, helping to improve cardiovascular health, while also working muscles to enhance strength.

Rucking can torch calories to help maintain a healthy weight, making it a major habit of celebrities ranging from fitness elites to Food Network star Guy Fieri.

Carrying weight also helps build stability, a key factor in longevity. You can try rucking even if you're new to fitness by adjusting the weight, speed, and distance.

Scherer said she loves incorporating walking with a weight vest or pack into her fitness routine to keep it interesting and prevent gains from stalling.

"Cross-training is my secret weapon. Don't get stuck in a rut," she said. "As we get older, so many people stop showing interest in those events, but they don't need to be so strenuous."

Even walking without weight can be beneficial if you make it a habit. Research shows adding just a few thousand steps a day can add years to your life.

Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and wall sits are linked to healthy aging

Scherer said strength training has major longevity benefits, preserving muscle and preventing injury as you age.

Some of her favorite exercises are ones you can do at home without any equipment, especially if you're a fitness beginner.

"Start slow. Do things with your body weight before you start adding weight," she said.

Movements like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats are similar to everyday activities like carrying objects and moving around. Holding a static squat or wall sit can strengthen your lower body and may help lower blood pressure, research suggests.

"If you can push and pull, get down on the floor and back up, all the things we do in regular life, in your training, you're less injury prone, and your range of motion is better," Scherer said.

Core exercises like planks can help prevent back pain

One common complaint of getting older is an achy back, but a simple core exercise routine can help protect your spine and prevent pain, according to Scherer.

She dedicates at least 60 minutes weekly to core exercises to help provide stability.

"If you don't have solid core strength, you're going to run the risk of lower back pain and injury," Scherer said.

She recommends a plank, maintaining good form to properly engage your core muscles, and avoid sagging in your back or hips.

Having a goal can also extend your lifespan

It's not an exercise, but Scherer said having something to work toward is key to staying healthy and motivated.

"Aging is one thing, but you can pick something you can look forward to and stay in shape for a specific event," she said.

Research backs it up. Some of the longest-living people in the world are known to have a sense of purpose and excitement that helps keep them going, whether it's climbing a literal mountain or just going for a walk with friends.

Read the original article on Business Insider