Push-Ups Could Save Your Life

The leading cause of mortality in the world is still Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Evidence proves that an increase in physical fitness could significantly lower someone’s risk of CVD. Unfortunately, CVD is hard to detect and is considered the silent killer. Without going to the doctor for a cardio stress test, it is very difficult to discover when someone has CVD before it is too late. That is until a 10-year study was conducted amongst active adult men, finding very interesting results.

The Study

The study was conducted over the course of 10 years from January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2010, which included 1,104 male firefighter participants. They all had baseline testing done, which included push-up tolerance levels (or max number of push-ups that could be performed at one time.) They were then separated into 5 groups based on their push-up test and monitored periodically throughout the 10-year study. The mean age of the participants in the study was 39.6, and the mean BMI was 28.7. The results of the study were very interesting. According to the published PubMed.com article, “During the 10-year follow up, 37 CVD-related outcomes were reported in participants with available push-up data. Significant negative associations were found between increasing push-up capacity and CVD events. Participants able to complete more than 40 push-ups were associated with a significantly lower risk of incident CVD event risk compared with those completing fewer than 10 push-ups.” (1)

Conclusion of Results

The results of the study that is published in PubMed.com article concluded that “The findings suggest that higher baseline push-up capacity is associated with a lower incidence of CVD events. Although larger studies in more diverse cohorts are needed, push-up capacity may be a simple, no-cost measure to estimate functional status.” (1)

My Conclusion

The results of the study are pretty clear, and there is definitely a correlation between push-up capacity and CVD related events. In my opinion, this speaks to a broader view that males who have more relative strength (the ability to perform bodyweight exercises at a higher capacity) will obtain a better health history over time. I don’t think that there is a direct correlation between push-up capacity and heart health, however, to be able to perform at a higher capacity of relative strength takes a few different factors. For starters, an individual who has less body fat can generally perform at a higher level with bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, simply because they generally weigh less. As a general rule as well, if someone has less body fat, that is oftentimes due to a higher amount of muscle mass, and a more nutritious diet. I would conclude that it is fair to say that the combination of more muscle, less fat, and healthier eating makes up a healthier individual. This doesn’t mean that if you are a male that is 40+ years old, and cannot perform 40 push-ups in a row, that you will get CVD. However, I do believe that this is a good indicator with an easy self-test, and you should consider a lifestyle change if you sweat just thinking about doing a push-up.

If you need help with putting a plan in place to get healthier, please email me at [email protected].

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