More push-ups may mean less risk of heart problems

In the journals

Published: May, 2019

How many push-ups can you do in a minute? The number may predict your risk of heart disease, suggests a study published online Feb. 15, 2019, by JAMA Network Open.

Harvard researchers analyzed data from 1,104 healthy firefighters, average age 40, who did not have cardiovascular disease. Each man performed as many push-ups as possible in one minute. The men also had treadmill tests to measure their cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness. After 10 years, the researchers found that the men who had originally performed the most push-ups were least likely to get heart disease.

Specifically, those who could do 40 or more push-ups had a 96% lower risk than those who could only do 10 or fewer push-ups. The men who could do at least 11 push-ups had a lower risk too, but the more they could do, the greater the benefit.

The men who scored the highest on the treadmill test also had a low risk of heart disease, but the researchers found that push-up capacity was just as accurate a predictor.

Image: © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.