Can you drop and do 40 push-ups? Middle-aged men who can hit that mark have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who can only do less than 10 push-ups.
So says a recent study by Harvard University researchers, who concluded that push-up abilities were more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than traditional treadmill tests.
The researchers assessed health data from more than 1,000 active firefighters collected between 2000 and 2010 from men who on average were just shy of 40 years old. Their initial push-up and treadmill abilities were documented and then followed by annual examinations and health questionnaires.
Of the 37 cardiovascular disease-related cases during the study period, all but one occurred among men who did 40 or fewer push-ups during the initial test. Those who could do more than 40 push-ups had a 96 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease events compared with those who did less than 10.
The study was the first known research to find a link between cardiovascular disease risk and push-up prowess.
Because the study concentrated on men who were middle-aged and had jobs that required them to be active, the researchers said the findings might not be directly translatable to men of other ages, those who are less active or to women.
The research adds to other findings that suggest strength-based abilities are beneficial. In 2017, Australian researchers found that those who did push-ups and sit-ups regularly had a 23 percent reduction in risk of premature death compared with those who didn’t.
So, when the trainer or workout partner presses you for more push-ups, consider the benefits. And go for the gold!