The number of push-ups a male can perform may predict their heart disease risk, according to the latest research findings.
The study included over 1,100 firefighting men who were followed for ten years. The researchers found that the risk of atherosclerosis or other cardiac events was 96 percent lower in men who could perform 40 push-ups or more during timed trials compared to men who performed 10 or less.
The findings suggest a possible new and easy test that doctors could get patients to perform to get insight into heart health that is noninvasive.
Lead author Dr. Justin Yang explained, “Using push-ups could be a no-cost and simple method to assess one’s functional capacity and predict future cardiovascular event risk. For clinicians, this is really important since a lot of tests vary in their results and are very expensive and time-consuming. This can be done within a minute.”
The researchers not only measured push-up capability but also age, VO2 max, height, weight, resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and smoking status.
During the study period, there were 37 cardiovascular-related events. Push-ups were found to be the strongest indicator of cardiovascular disease event risk.
Kerry Stewart, who was not involved in the study, gave his take on why push-ups may be a viable indicator of heart health. He stated, “You have to be pretty fit to do that many push-ups. You would probably have to do a good amount of exercise on a regular basis to get to the level of 40 or more.” High fitness levels are associated with lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and abdominal fat, which are all known risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
The study reaffirms the importance of staying physically fit in your older years as a means of protecting your heart and improving overall health.