Pushups and Heart Health

Can you do at least 40 pushups?

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Jun 14, 2019

Active middle-aged men who were able to do more than 40 pushups had a significantly lower risk of heart disease events during a 10-year follow-up period than men who could do fewer than 10 pushups, according to a study reported in JAMA Network Open (2019; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.8341).

Harvard University researchers based this finding on data analysis of 1,104 male firefighters with a mean age of 40. Results cannot be generalized to women or to men in different age groups or with different activity levels.

However, this evidence supports the use of pushup tests as an easy-to-administer, low-cost method of screening for cardiovascular disease risk. One recommendation is to share risk reduction options with clients.


Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.

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