A study shows that men over 40 years old should be able to do up to 40 push-ups in a row and if they can’t then something needs to be done about it.
It is known through the study that the indication of the overall heart health of a man over 40 years old can be determined by how many push-up he can do.
According to the findings published online, men who are capable of doing 40 push-ups at a time have a 94-96% reduced risk of stroke, heart attack and heart diseases or problems compared to men who could do fewer than 10 pushups.
Dr. Stefanos Kales who is a professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H Chan School of public health located in Boston said “The more pushups one could do, the less likely they will have a heart disease or heart issue.”
It seems that push-up capacity may be a “marker of general physical fitness,” Kales added.
He also stated that there are body builders that can do a lot of pushups but can’t run well while there are world class marathon runners who can’t do much of pushups. But in general they found in the study and various other studies that aerobic capacity and pushup capacity are pretty well related.
In the study Dr. Kales team monitored the heart health of over 1000 active male firefighters for a long time starting in the year 2000. The participants were about the age of 40 and above and they had an average body mass index (BMI) of 28.7 which is basically overweight.
At the beginning of the study, the men’s pushup capacity was properly measured and the men also underwent a treadmill test to check their aerobic stamina. Each one of the participants filled out a questionnaire and underwent yearly physicals.
Findings showed that 37 of the men developed heart health issues during a 10 year follow up.
Based on the increments of 10 pushups, the researchers divided the men into five groups and checked the numbers to see if their push-up capacity precisely predicted heart issues.
The investigators found out even after adjusting for BMI and age that the number of pushups a man could do predicted their risk of heart issues. The authors of the study stated that push-up capacity was more highly associated with heart health more than aerobic capacity measured and conducted by a standard treadmill test.
Being that the study only involved men, the results can’t be really applied to women. Dr Kales assumes there would be similar relationship but it might have to be analyzed and measured differently.
Dr. Gerald Fletcher who happens to be a professor of cardiovascular medicine with Mayo clinic in Jacksonville stated that the push up test might not accurately predict heart issues or problems for everyone.
Many people have had musculoskeletal injuries so the study is not really a good measurement,” Fletcher said. “Some people have problems with their arms.
Dr. Mintz who is the director of cardiovascular health at Northwell Health hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. said that pushup might be a better assessment for cardiovascular and physical fitness in professions that demands increased physical abilities like firefighters, sanitation workers or police officers.
Dr. Fletcher suggested that people should try to get in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week if they want to protect their heart health. For example, riding a bike, walking on a treadmill or working out on an elliptical machine.
For the improvement of cholesterol, blood pressure and weight and blood sugar, Dr Mintz recommends the rule of fours. This means 40 minutes of consistent aerobic activity for at least four times per week for the 4 benefits above.