Study says men capable of 40 pumps have lower risk of heart disease

(Gray News) – Who knew that it was so simple?

A new study indicates that the number of pumps that a middle-aged man can perform may be a good indicator of his risk of heart disease.

The data was collected by researchers at T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University and published in the JAMA Network Open.

"Our results demonstrate that lifting capacity can be a simple and free method to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in almost all settings," said author of the study, Justin Yang. "Surprisingly, the ability to lift was more strongly associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease than the results of … treadmill tests."

The information comes from a 10-year study (2000-2010) involving about 1,104 active male firefighters, all aged about 40 years old.

During the study decade, 37 participants reported cardiovascular health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure.

All but one of the cases occurred in men who performed at least 40 pumps at the beginning of the study.

The researchers calculated that men capable of making more than 40 pumps had a reduced risk of CVD of 96% compared to those who were able to do less than 10 pumps. The upward pushing ability was more strongly associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular events than the estimated aerobic capacity by a submaximal treadmill exercise test.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The study only applies to men of average age. The results can not be generalized for other groups, but there is a lesson for everyone, according to lead author Stefanos Kales.

"This study highlights the importance of fitness for health and explains why clinicians should assess fitness at clinical encounters."

Now, start making your pumps, men.

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