If you ever needed a reason not to skip chest day, this is it. Scientists have just found the number of push-ups middle-aged men need to complete in order to significantly lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.
The life-saving number? 40 push-ups.
Scientists spent a decade conducting the research which covers everything from the diagnoses of coronary artery disease and major events such as heart failure when compared to those who could only do 10 push-ups or less.
“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,” said the study’s author Justin Yang.
“Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests.”
The research conducted by the medicine resident in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard is the first known study to identify a link between push-ups and cardiovascular disease outcomes.
The team obtained their results by analysing health data from 1,104 active male firefighters with a mean age of 39.6 years and mean BMI (body mass index) of 28.7. Every man’s push-up capacity and treadmill exercise tolerance was recorded at the start of the study before they continued on with annual physical and health examinations.
During the decade-long study there were 37 cardiovascular diseases reported. All of these bar one occurred in men who could only do 40 push-ups or less during their baseline exam. From this result the researchers calculated that men who were able to do more than 40 push-ups had a 96% reduced risk of CVD events when compared to those who could do less than 10 push-ups.
But before you make those 40 push-ups your target to a longer life, the study’s authors warn that their subjects consisted of middle-aged men who were occupationally active. In other words there might be a bit more leg work involved for men and women of varying ages who are less active.
Nonetheless it would appear from past research that improved muscle strength is the ultimate key to extending your lifespan, whether it be push-ups or other forms of muscle building exercises.