Men who can’t do 10 push ups or more are at risk of facing cardiovascular diseases

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Javier Lobregat

A new study found that the number of push-ups a man can do is linked with their risk of contracting heart diseases.  According to the authors of the study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, those that can perform 40 push-ups are 97 percent less likely to develop a cardiovascular problem in the next 10 years.

Middle-aged men who can’t complete 10 or more push-ups have a higher risk of contracting heart attacks and strokes. Meanwhile, those that can perform 11 or more push-ups have showed reduced risk of subsequent cardio problems.

According to the study, push-ups are considered as the most convenient way to assess cardiovascular performance as compared to other fitness activities like running since the former is easier to complete and is ideal for shorter periods of exercise.

“Our findings provide evidence that push-up capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting,” study co-author Justin Yang said in a statement. “Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests,” he added.

The research examined 1,104 active male firefighters from 2000 to 2010. With the mean age of 39.6 and mean body index (BMI) of 28.7, the participants’ push-up capacity was measured at the beginning of the study where each examiner completed an annual physical test along with health and medical questionnaires.

“Our findings provide evidence that push-up capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting,” study co-author Justin Yang said in a statement. “Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests,” he added.

The results of the 10-year study indicated that men who are able to do more than 40 push-ups have a 97 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to those who were able to do less than 10 push-ups. Push-up capacity was then strongly associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease as compared to aerobic capacity estimated by a treadmill exercise test.

However, the authors of the study suggest that more research needs to be done before the findings can be generalized, especially in different groups like women, older people, and those who are less active.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide; studies have suggested that physical activity helps provide cardiovascular benefits and could significantly reduce premature mortality.