Sometimes it feels as if we can flick through a magazine or scroll through our newsfeeds without discovering that something else is bad for us. Truth be told, if we avoided every single thing that is bad for our bodies, life probably wouldn’t be worth living. The key truly is to live a balanced lifestyle and not do anything to excess.
Do some things to excess and you are going to do your body some damage. Drink too much alcohol and you run the risk of seriously damaging your liver. Eat too much fast food and your heart and arteries might not wind up in the best state. Exercise is a great way to counteract that last one, and a simple exercise might be more of an indicator towards good or bad heart health than you realize.
Research published in JAMA Network Open wanted to know if a man’s risk of heart disease could be predicted by something as simple as how many push-ups they could do. In order to try and find that out, researchers studied 1104 male firefighters with an average age of 39.6 over 10 years. The men were asked to perform push-ups in time with a metronome set at 80 beats per minute.
The firefighters were asked to stop when they reached 80 push-ups, missed three beats of the metronome, or simply couldn’t continue. The findings revealed that the men who managed to perform 4o or more push-ups before calling it quits were 96% less likely to develop cardiovascular problems than those who could only muster up 10 or less. Don’t panic if you can’t manage 40, though. Even those who could only manage a few more than 10 push-ups showed fewer signs of developing heart issues.
While this study is eye-opening, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. Although it is highly likely that those who can perform more push-ups are in better shape and therefore less prone to heart problems, the research conducted is pretty basic. Not only does it only include men, but the age range represented is also pretty narrow. That being said, if you’re healthy and active, dropping down and cranking out 20 push-ups every now and again can’t be a bad thing.