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Middle-aged men able to complete more than 40 push-ups may be at significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as compared to those who did less than 10 push-ups, shows a study published in JAMA Network Open.

The study shows that push-up capacity can be a good indicator of heart health.

“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 Justin Yang, of Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US.

“Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests,” Yang said.

For the study, the researchers from Harvard University analysed health data from 1,104 active male firefighters whose mean age was 39.6.

During the 10-year study period, 37 CVD-related outcomes were reported.

Since the study population consisted of middle-aged, occupationally active men, the results may not be generalisable to women or to men of other ages or who are less active, note the authors.

“This study emphasizes the importance of physical fitness on health, and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters,” said Stefanos Kales, a professor at Harvard.

(Inputs from media reports)

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