A study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that middle-aged men who can do over 40 push-ups have a much lower chance of suffering heart disease.
The researchers followed 1,100 middle-aged firefighters for over 10 years, tracking how many push-ups they could do – as well as their performances on treadmills.
The study showed that those who could do over 40 push-ups were 96% less likely to contract heart disease than those who could only do 10 push-ups.
“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 lead author Justin Yang.
“Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests.”
The study highlighted, however, that since the test was done on male, active firefighters, the results may not extend to other groups, such as those who are less active.