Scientists have long suspected a link between physical fitness and heart health. Now, recent studies suggest that something as simple as pushups may be able to predict our risk of developing heart disease. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind this surprising connection.
The Study - Connection Between Pushups and Heart Disease
The study conducted by Harvard University and published in JAMA Network Open looked at how pushup capacity might relate to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors like high blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), diabetes, smoking history, and cholesterol levels. The study included over 1,100 male firefighters from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy who were between the ages of 18-50 years old. Each participant performed a maximum number of pushups in one minute—with researchers noting a significant decrease in CVD risk for those who completed more than 40 pushups within the timespan.
Researchers found that men who could do 40 or more pushups had a 96% lower risk of CVD compared to those who could only do fewer than 10 pushups. This suggests that pushup capacity can be used as an easy measure of overall physical fitness level that can help identify individuals at greater risk for CVD events like heart attack or stroke. The study also found that age was not associated with any significant difference in performance among participants, meaning even older adults can benefit from this type of exercise assessment.
Implications for Your Health
These results are promising for anyone looking for an easy way to assess their overall physical health without expensive tests or lengthy visits to the doctor’s office. So, if you’re looking to get an idea of your risk for heart disease or other cardiovascular issues, give yourself a quick “pushup test” every now and again! That said, it’s important to remember that there is no single marker for predicting CVD—so it’s still important to follow all your medical provider’s recommendations like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking if applicable.
While more research is needed on this topic before any definitive conclusions can be drawn—it looks like something as simple as doing regular pushups could potentially help us better understand our risks for developing cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke. If you are concerned about your CVD risk levels—consider giving yourself a “pushup test” every now and again! And don't forget to follow all your medical provider's recommendations for creating optimal heart health!
We posted an article earlier regarding the benefits of a high-intensity interval training program like you find at Upgrade Group Training. Among the benefits you can derive from HIIT programs, according to a Harvard Medical School study, is improved cardiovascular health. Having a healthy cardiovascular system is an indicator of fitness and is helpful in preventing serious medical issues.
Additionally, the HIIT workout helps improve your overall strength as your entire body is trained during these programs. Pushups is a general measure of your strength and muscular endurance and not being able to do many, is an indicator that your health and fitness might not be in a good place.