It’s no longer recent news – regular physical activity can help you live longer. But did you know that it can also be used to estimate your chances of a heart attack or a stroke? Well, a recent study has discovered exactly that. It was found that if a man was capable of doing more than 40 push-ups, then they had a 96% percent reduction in the risk of having a cardiovascular disease for about the next ten years, according to a team in Harvard University. If a man was able to do about 21-30 push-ups, then there was about a quarter of risk regarding any disease like heart failure or coronary artery disease when compared to a person who failed to manage about 10 push-ups.
This was a startling report that was presented by authors in the JAMA Network Open journal. After a few examinations, they have come up with a baseline of about 11 or more push-ups which can have a significant effect in reducing any kind of cardiovascular disease from taking place. It was actually found that push-ups could turn out to be a much better indicator of the future health of a person’s heart than other tests like running. Plus, it is basically free!
According to the author of the paper, Justin Chang, who is from the TH Chan School of Public Health in Harvard, this could become a no-cost way to ascertain the cardiovascular health or risk associated with it in any particular setting. It’s almost revolutionary. According to Chang, the results associated with cardiovascular diseases were much better than the results obtained from submaximal treadmill tests where subjects had to run and then their breath had to be measured.
The study that was conducted used about 1000 firemen from Indiana between 2000-2007. Medical reports regarding their cardiovascular conditions were checked for the next 10 years. The men on whom the study was conducted were of an average age of about 39.6 years, ranging from 21 to 66 years of age. The average body-mass index or BMI was 28.7 and all of them were quite active. After all adjustments of BMI and ages, this link between long-term health and BMI was found to be strong enough.
But the heart conditions were quite low i.e. 37 during the trial period of the study. This low number that was presented in the push-up group resulted in a drop of confidence among the participants. It was doubtful whether doing about 11-20 push-ups can actually cause a reduction in the risk of heart disease by about 64 percent.
However, scientists remain hopeful. This is just the first study and there are more studies that need to be done. However, push-ups seem to be quite an effective test to identify cardiovascular risks. Other experts have noted that the studies must be expanded and it should be conducted on other groups too, like women and the less active. After all, it is almost a given that firefighters generally stay at the top of their physical health because of the kind of job they have.
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According to the associate medical director working at the British Heart Foundation, Professor Jeremy Pearson, the study has shown that firefighters who were fit would have a lesser risk of actually getting a heart attack or a stroke in the next 10 years. Generally, heart attacks or strokes occur when our arteries start to narrow down due to Atherosclerosis, this is a slow, progressive disease that may start in childhood. In some people, atherosclerosis progresses rapidly in their 30s. In others, it doesn’t become dangerous until they reach their 50s or 60s. So, it is quite important for us to exercise and keep ourselves fit to prevent any cardiovascular issue from taking place in our future.
The study proves again how important exercise and physical activity can be for our health. So, maybe, it is time for us to hit the gym or go for a run – regularly!