Push-Up Capacity Is a Predictor of Heart Health for Middle-Aged Men, According to Harvard

Push-up study
(Photo by Lyndon Stratford / Getty Images.) Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 647,000 annual deaths—or one in every four deaths.

Your middle-aged male members may be up to 95 percent less likely to develop heart disease if they are able to perform at least 40 consecutive push-ups, according to research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This 2019 research, published via JAMA Network, was based on a longitudinal cohort study conducted between 2000 and 2010. Researchers assessed 1,562 male firefighters in Indiana, whose average age was 40, requiring them to complete periodic physical examinations with regular follow-ups.

Significant associations were found between the subjects’ push-up capacity and cardiovascular disease-related events. Subjects who could perform at least 40 consecutive push-ups showed a 95 percent decrease in their likelihood of experiencing heart-related illnesses. Even subjects who could perform at least 11 push-ups showed reduced health risks.

The study states: "This study found that push-up capacity was inversely associated with 10-year risk of [cardiovascular disease-related] events among men aged 21 to 66 years. Thus, push-up capacity, a simple, no-cost measure, may provide a surrogate estimate of functional status among middle-aged men. ... To our knowledge, this is the first study to report the inverse relationship between push-up capacity at baseline and subsequent cardiovascular disease-related outcomes in an occupationally active male cohort."

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 647,000 annual deaths—or one in every four deaths. Collectively, the battle against heart disease in America costs approximately $219 billion every year.

In 2019, another JAMA-published study found that regular exercise can help aging adults achieve greater longevity and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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