Man doing push-ups on beach

Man doing push-ups on beach

BOSTON — Here’s one way to predict your heart health: get down and give me 41. A recent study finds that men who can perform at least 40 push-ups in one attempt are much less likely to suffer from heart disease within the next 10 years.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health say their report is the first to show how push-up capacity is linked to heart disease. They found that middle-aged men who can log more than 40 push-ups in a single try have a 96% reduced risk of developing the potentially deadly condition and other related ailments, such as heart failure, compared to those who can complete no more than 10 push-ups.

For their study, the authors reviewed health data from 1,104 active male firefighters taken annually from 2000 to 2010. At the start of the study, the average participant was about 40 years old with an average body mass index of 28.7. The firefighters were tasked with performing as many push-ups as they could, and their treadmill tolerance was also tested.

By the end of the study period, 37 participants suffered from a heart disease-related condition — and 36 of those men weren’t able to log more than 40 push-ups in the initial test. The results of the treadmill test were not as clearly linked to heart disease diagnoses.

“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,” says the study’s first author, Justin Yang, an occupational medicine resident at the school, in a statement. Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests.”

The authors note that because the study was completed by middle-aged men with active occupations, the results shouldn’t be considered the same for women or men who are less active or of different ages.

This study was published in JAMA Network Open.

This article was first posted February 16, 2019.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Melore

Editor

Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

4 Comments

  1. Bobby Cullari says:

    So wait, do these studies say exercise and physical fitness enhances health?
    Wow, what a stunning revelation! I have been waiting for these results, and next January 1st, I might just start exercising.

  2. Ebrahim Nazarimofrad says:

    Based on the results, I’ve been trying to get it. I am now on 35 that is near to 40. I’ll got it in the near future.

  3. Jake Sebanto says:

    The study doesn’t take into account that someone may do other forms of exercise but cannot do 40 pushups due to an AC or other problem. It’s similar to the BMI…which doesn’t account for muscle mass versus fat mass. With BMI, a male who is 6 feet tall, 200 lbs and 10% bodyfat is put in the same category as a male of same height and weight, with 30% bodyfat.

  4. Greg says:

    So 37 of 1100 cannot do 40 pushups and are prone to heart disease, which is roughly 3.5% of the group affected. I think the study is flawed as firefighters tend to have a higher rate of CVD compared to the average person.