Scientists have identified what they thought was a simple and practical test for predicting people's heart health. It's about as fast as saying "Give up and give me 40".
In a new study by Harvard University, researchers found that men's ability to perform more than 40 push-ups was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of serious heart problems over the next 10 years – in some cases , a risk reduction of up to 96%.
"Our results demonstrate that uplift ability could be a simple and free method to help assess the risk of cardiovascular disease in almost all settings," says Justin Yang, resident of Harvard Medical School TH Chan School of Public Health .
"Surprisingly, the ability to lift was more strongly associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease than the results of sub-maximal treadmill tests."
Of course, the ability to do 40 pushups initially is usually indicative of a high fitness level – especially in middle-aged men, such as the group that the researchers studied.
He is not fully aware that being in good physical shape reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and the development of coronary heart disease.
But what is new and useful here is the ability to predict this type of health problem with such a simple and universal test – and with what appears to be more accurate than expensive equipment like treadmills.
Not that the results we have now necessarily apply to everyone. In this study, Yang and his team studied a relatively niche cohort: 1,104 active male firefighters, with an average age of 39.6 years at the start of the study. These participants were observed in the space of a decade.
During the 10-year study, 37 of these men experienced symptoms related to cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure, sudden cardiac death or a diagnosis of coronary heart disease.
What is interesting, however, is that among these 37 men, all but one were participants who were unable to complete more than 40 tracers during their initial physical examination at the beginning of the study .
Overall, the team observed lower CVD risk in all groups with higher push-up capabilities, but if you could do more than 40 push-ups (out of a maximum of 80 in the baseline test ), the results put you in a much healthier place. compared to those with low capacity.
"Participants able to perform more than 40 pumps had a 96% reduction in the number of cardiovascular incidents compared to those performing fewer than 10 pumps," the authors write in their article.
It should be noted that male firefighters are not representative of other segments of society. The results presented here would not necessarily be reproduced by other people, which researchers acknowledge.
However, this conclusion deserves further consideration, especially since the assessment of thrust capacity is a relatively easy clinical test for health professionals to perform on physically capable patients.
"The push-up exam does not require any special equipment, is inexpensive or free, can be easily performed in almost any environment in less than 2 minutes, and provides an objective estimate of functional status," the authors explain.
"It is a quantitative measure easily understandable by both the clinician and the patient."
If clinicians adopt the results, it could be a simple adjustment to the physical examination of patients who are already testing their fitness levels.
The adjustment can be simple – and science can be obvious – but that does not mean that takeaways could not save lives.
"The ability to lift is positively correlated with aerobic fitness and fitness," said Stefanos Kales, lead author of the study and specialist of CVD, at Inverse.
"These types of objective functional markers are generally good predictors of mortality."
The results are reported in JAMA Network open now.