Drop and Give Me (At Least) 10!: Push-up Prowess Linked to Better Heart Health

We use a lot of bodyweight movements in our personal training sessions and group fitness classes here at Horsham Athletic Club because we know how effective they are for building strength and muscle endurance using a small amount of space and without a need for fancy equipment. Simple planks, squats, and push-ups promote body awareness, balance, and flexibility.

So, of course, we took interest in a recent study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the JAMA Network Open medical journal, linking push-ups to better heart health.

About the Study

The researchers looked at a group of male firefighters over a period of 10 years.

  • First, the men were given a push-up test – how many push-ups could they do in a given amount of time?
  • Then, their heart health was monitored over time.
  • The men who could do at least 40 push-ups in the preliminary test were 96 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular issues than men who could do 10 or fewer push-ups.

Study authors suggest that push-up capacity could be an effective measuring stick for a man’s risk of developing heart disease. According to their research, push-ups were a better testing tool for predicting cardiovascular disease than the treadmill.

What does that mean?

That research is certainly thought-provoking, considering how widespread a problem heart disease is in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both genders.

The Harvard study looked at men, but we don’t want to leave women out, because they’re a big part of our group fitness community in the Ambler, PA, area, and they do push-ups, too!

Everyone can benefit from adding push-ups to their fitness routine. It’s so easy – but let’s make sure your form is on point.

Tips for Perfect Push-ups

Hands should be shoulder-width apart, directly below or slightly behind your shoulders. Going too wide can hurt your shoulders or wrists.
Hold a plank, drawing in your belly button and squeezing your buttocks to keep your core engaged (this is key!)
Lower yourself straight down, trying to get your chest all the way to the floor
Exhale as you push up, inhale as you go back down.

You can always modify push-ups by placing your knees on the ground and crossing your ankles.

Our trainers can help you improve your push-up form, increase your strength, and whip your heart into the best shape it’s ever been. Horsham Athletic Club offers personal training services and group fitness classes near Warrington, PA, so stop in and join us today!

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