If you want to predict your chances of getting heart disease, scientists say you should be doing push-ups.
A new study followed over 1,100 male firefighters for 10 years. During this period, there were 37 cardiovascular disease-related outcomes among the men.
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The study found the risk of atherosclerosis and of cardiovascular events, such as stroke and heart attack, was 96 percent lower among men who could do 40 or more push-ups during timed tests compared to the men who could do fewer than 10.
And being able to do between 21 and 30 push-ups meant men had around a quarter of the risk compared to someone who couldn't manage 10.
"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 the study's lead author Dr Justin Yang, a researcher at Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
"Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests."
Senior author Professor Stefanos Kales says this test is a lot more accurate than using patients' self-reported information to gauge risk.
"Push-up capacity, a simple, no-cost measure, may provide a surrogate estimate of functional status among middle-aged men," he says.
"This study emphasises the importance of physical fitness on health, and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters."
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor of medicine Kerry Stewart says you have to be pretty fit to do that many push-ups.
"You would probably have to do a good amount of exercise on a regular basis to get to the level of 40 or more."
Reuters / Newshub.