photo
11:06:54am | 19-Feb-2019 | 980 | 79

Published 2 hours ago

By 

Fact checked by Gianna D'Emilio

A new study suggests that the more pushups a man is able to complete, the lower his cardiovascular risk and vice versa. These findings may establish a new measure of risk assessment that is simple and does not require costly specialized equipment.

man doing pushups

Being able to do more pushups may correlate with a lower cardiovascular risk in men, a new study shows.

World Health Organization (WHO) data indicate that every year there are 17.9 million deaths due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), accounting for approximately 31 percent of global deaths.

Many of the factors that increase the risk of CVD are modifiable, chiefly an unhealthful diet, a lack of physical activity, smoking, or frequent consumption of alcohol.

The link between exercise — particularly physical fitness — and CVD, therefore, is not a new one.

Yet current methods of correctly assessing physical fitness in relation to cardiovascular risk, such as the cardiac exercise stress test (or submaximal treadmill exercise test), are costly and can take a fair amount of time to conduct.

Now, the findings of a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, may allow physicians to estimate risk more easily, based simply on a person's capacity to complete multiple pushups.

The results, which appear in JAMA Network Open and are accessible online, indicate that physically active men who are able to do more than 40 pushups may have a lower CVD risk than peers who can complete fewer 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," says first author Justin Yang, M.D.

"Surprisingly, pushup capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests," he adds.

The more pushups you can do, the better

In the current study — which is probably the first of its kind — the research team collected and analyzed the health information of 1,104 active male firefighters with a mean age of 39.6 and mean BMI of 28.7. These data covered a period of 10 years, between 2000 and 2010.

 

Exercise boosts well-being by improving gut health

Exercise boosts well-being by improving gut health

New research has found that exercise impacts your gut health, and thus your overall wellness.

READ NOW

At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured both the pushup capacity and the submaximal treadmill exercise tolerance of each participant.

The investigators gathered the remaining relevant data through the participants' yearly physical exams and by asking them to fill in a series of medical questionnaires.

Throughout the 10-year period, the researchers registered 37 CVD-related events in the cohort of volunteers. Notably, all but one of these outcomes happened in men who had been able to do 40 or fewer pushups at the beginning of the study.

The investigators' analysis revealed that participants who had been able to complete over 40 pushups to begin with had a 96 percent lower cardiovascular risk than men who had completed 10 or fewer pushups.

Moreover, the team notes, pushup capacity had a stronger link with lower CVD risk even than aerobic capacity, which is measured through the submaximal treadmill exercise test.

However, the researchers warn that because their cohort of participants was made up of individuals in a specific group — active men in their 30s and 40s — the findings may not apply to women, or to men who are older, younger, or less physically active than those in the cohort.

Still, the current findings remain important in establishing the link between cardiovascular health and exercise, the investigators maintain.

"This study emphasizes the importance of physical fitness on health and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters."

Senior author Prof. Stefanos Kales, M.D.

 

 

RELATED COVERAGE

How do muscles work?Find out how muscles move, how they repair themselves after injury, and why scientists say that antioxidants after exercise might not be good after all.

READ NOW

Essential stretches for warming up before a runStretching before a run can help improve performance and prevent injury by warming up the muscles, loosening joints, and increasing blood flow. It is best to do dynamic stretches before a run and static stretches afterward. Here, learn six essential dynamic stretches to do before a run.

READ NOW

Should you do cardio or lift weights?Many people wonder what the best type of exercise is for burning calories. Cardiovascular exercises and weight training have different effects on the body and may influence weight loss or muscle gain. Here, learn more about how each type of exercise burns calories and which is best.

READ NOW

Why do my muscles feel sore after exercise?Exercise and sore muscles go hand-in-hand, but a particularly challenging workout or new routine can take this pain to another level. Find out why.

READ NOW

Which muscles do pushups work? Pushups work many of the body's large muscle groups, including those in the upper body and core. A person can use a range of pushup types to focus on different sets of muscles. Here, we describe how to do eight types of pushup.

READ NOW