INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new study says the number of push-ups a man can do could indicate his heart health later on in life.
The test is simple, doesn’t involve any fancy equipment, and it’s free. It’s similar to the stair challenge Joe Melillo introduced us to back in December but shows heart health is about more than just cardiovascular capacity. Strength is a factor as well.
The study involved more than 1,100 Indiana firefighters. Researchers from Harvard compared the heart health of the men over a 10-year period. Those who could do more than 40 push-ups were 96 percent less likely to have developed a cardiovascular problem compared to those who could do 10 push-ups or fewer, according to the report published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open. Though men who could do 40 or more push-ups had the lowest risk, participants able to perform 11 or more push-ups also showed a reduced risk of subsequent heart health problems.
IU Health Cardiologist Dr. Noel Dasgupta said she believes the push-up challenge is a good assessment, but shouldn’t be the only way you check in on your heart.
“It’s one part of measuring your heart health, but you always want to go see your doctor and make sure that your blood sugars are ok, you don’t have any risk factors for diabetes, high blood pressure, that you’re following a healthy diet,” Dr. Dasgupta said.
Doctors say the big take home from this study and as Heart Month winds down is that prevention is key. What you do in your 20s and 30s will make a difference in your heart health when you reach your 50s, 60s and beyond.
And ladies, before you ask the men in your life to drop and give you 40, Dr. Dasgupta said there this info should get you moving as well.
“As we all get older, as women, we lose some of our muscle mass and we’re at increased risk for osteoporosis so being able to do activities like push-ups where you’re using your own body weight or doing light weights is an important thing to test,” she said.