If your arms feel weak at the mere thought of a push-up, you may inadvertently be increasing your risk of heart disease.
A new study by researchers from Harvard University has found that men who can do more than 40 push-ups have a ‘significantly’ lower risk of heart disease, including coronary artery disease and heart failure.
Justin Yang, who led the study, said: “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.
“Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests.”
In the study, the researchers analysed health data from 1,104 active male firefighters, collected from 2000 to 2010.
At the start of the study, the researchers assessed each participant’s push-up capacity and treadmill exercise tolerance.
Each man then had subsequent annual physical exams, and completed health and medical questionnaries.
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An analysis of the results revealed that of the 37 heart-related incidents reported, all but one occurred in men who less than 40 push-ups during the initial test.
Incredibly, the researchers found that men who could do more than 40 push-ups had a 96% reduced risk of heart disease than those who could do less than 10 push-ups.
Professor Stefanos Kales, a senior author of the study, said: “This study emphasises the importance of physical fitness on health, and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters.”
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