Can you do 40 push-ups in one go? Or at least more than 10? If you can, we have good news for you – you probably have a healthy heart. If you can’t do more than 10 push-ups, start trying!
A new study suggests that people who can do a lot of push-ups doesn’t only mean that they are strong, but that they also have good heart health. In the research, middle-aged male firefighters were tested for their stamina. The results showed that those who could do more than 40 pushups in a row had a 96% lower risk of being diagnosed with heart disease over a 10-year period, as compared with those who could do fewer than 10 push-ups.
However, we have to take into consideration that the study looked only at male firefighters who have a very active job, so we cannot conclude if the findings apply to every average person. On the other hand, the lead authors say that “pushup capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk”.
Doctors already knew that being physically fit is linked with better heart health, but they had a hard time accurately assessing a person’s fitness level during a regular check-up. The new study tested if a simple exercise like a push-up could provide clues to heart health.
The study was conducted on more than 1,100 firefighters from the US state of Indiana with an average age of 39. At the beginning of the research, each of them underwent a pushup test, then their health was monitored in the course of 10 years to see if they experienced cardiovascular issues like heart failure or cardiac arrest.
During this decade, 37 cardiovascular events were recorded among the participants in the study, but only one of them occurred among the men who completed more than 40 pushups. Even those who could do 11 or more push-ups had a lower risk of cardiovascular events, compared with those who could do 10 or fewer.
However, the researchers cautioned that there are other factors that could be tied to a heart disease risk, like a person’s age, body mass index and aerobic fitness level. But, in general, the researchers concluded that pushup capacity could be an indicator of overall fitness.