by: Melissa Smith
(Natural News) Pushups are one of the most common body weight exercises, and a study suggests that they may indicate the health of your heart. The study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, found that men who can do at least 40 pushups had lower risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes. The findings suggested that simple exercises like pushups could indicate heart health status.
Led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the study assessed the stamina of 1,104 middle-aged male firefighters. The participants underwent a pushup test at the beginning of the study. Then, they were followed for a decade – from 2000 to 2010 – for researchers to see if they suffered from a cardiovascular event, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, or cardiac arrest. Each year, every participant completed physical exams and health and medical questionnaires.
Being physically fit is a known predictor of health status. However, it can be too costly and time-consuming for physicians to measure an individual’s fitness level during a routine visit if they use treadmill tests and other current tools that assess physical fitness. Therefore, the researchers used pushups to measure the participants’ physical fitness.
During the study period, the researchers recorded 37 cardiovascular events. All except for one occurred in men who completed 40 or fewer pushups. They found that participants who could do at least 11 pushups had a lower risk of cardiovascular events compared with those who could do 10 or fewer. Those who completed more than 40 pushups had the greatest reduction in risk. They had a 96 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events compared with those who did fewer than 10 pushups.
“Our findings provide evidence that pushup capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting. Surprisingly, pushup capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests,” said first author Justin Yang, occupational medicine resident in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Taken together, the researchers concluded that active, middle-aged men who could do over 40 pushups were less likely to experience cardiovascular events. However, the researchers noted that the results may not be generalized to women or to men of other ages or who are less active because the study only focused on middle-aged men who had very active jobs. Nonetheless, the study emphasized the importance of physical fitness on health.
More reasons to do pushups
Despite being simple, pushups can strengthen your core, upper body, and quads, and provide various health benefits all at the same time. Here are four more reasons why you should do pushups:
- Improve body strength – You can improve your upper body strength without lifting a ton of weight by doing pushups. Pushups focus on the chest and shoulders, helping to strengthen and define your upper body.
- Strengthen core – Pushups may be considered an upper body exercise, but it actually involves every core muscle to be done properly. It helps tighten and tone the stomach without doing crunches.
- Boost energy – Doing a set of pushups can give you a quick energy boost. This is because it improves circulation, builds heat in the body, and pushes the brain to work more efficiently.
- Increase metabolic rate – Because pushups work out multiple muscles at the same time, your heart works harder to pump blood and your breath quickens. These increase your body’s metabolic rate, promoting weight loss. (Related: 5 reasons why you should start doing push-ups every week.)
Interested to learn about other heart-strengthening exercises? Visit Slender.news to find out more.