As per a recent study, the ability to do a lot of pushups may not only depict a person’s physical strength but also a healthy heart.
The study performed tests to assess the stamina of 1,000 middle-aged male firefighters. According to its findings, those who could perform over 40 pushups in a row had 96 percent lesser chances of being diagnosed with heart disease for the next 10 years, as compared with those who could do fewer.
Furthermore, the study indicates that pushups capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk.
Earlier, physicians knew that being physically fit is linked with better heart results, but it was difficult for them to accurately assess an individual’s fitness levels.
To get a correct assessment, doctors used treadmill tests to assess a person’s fitness level. In these evaluations, people run on a treadmill until their heart rate reaches a certain level. However, the tests consumed a lot of time and used expensive equipment. Hence, they are not done regularly.
Instead, a pushup will give you effective results with no need for equipment and related costs.
So How Does a Push-up Help?
Push-ups has a full-body impact right from top to bottom. It builds several muscle groups simultaneously-arms, abdomen, chest, hips and legs.
Moreover, push-ups can be modified as per an individual’s requirement.
“By adjusting the speed you perform a push-up, the angle of your body, and even hand placement, you can add more or less intensity, or focus on specific muscles,” says Dr. Edward Phillips, Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School.
How to Perform a Push-up
According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science in February 2016, there was increased chest muscle activity when push-ups were done with hands placed halfway inward from their normal position. On the other hand, hands placed outwards work the triceps more.
Here are effective ways to perform pushups:
- Position yourself in a plank with arms extended, palms facing downwards and just below shoulder level. Set your feet together or 12 inches apart while sharing your body weight on the balls of your feet
- Ensure that your back is straight and your weight is equally distributed
- Look downwards and slowly lower your body until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Then lift your body back up to complete a cycle. Ensure that your body goes down for two seconds and goes up for one second
Strength Training for Cardio
Moreover, another recent study conducted on 4,000 adults indicates that strength building may be even more beneficial to the heart than aerobic activities.
As part of the study, participants who did ‘static activity’ like lifting weights had a lower chance of getting cardiovascular diseases than those in activities such as running or cycling.
But this doesn’t suggest that you should give up on cardio exercises. Researcher Dr. Maia Smith, who is in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University in Grenada, says both strength training and aerobic activity can boost heart health — and the best results came from those who did both types.
The American Heart Association suggests both cardio and strength are equally important for heart health. The association says that a mix of these two workouts can contribute to increased muscle mass, making it easier to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of injury and build stronger bones, connective tissue and muscles.
If you haven’t started pushups, here is your reason to do so. Don’t forget to keep a track on the heart count.