Exercise science is a weirdly wonderful world. Through research, scientists constantly serve us random facts about our health and fitness, such as how having a hot bath can improve physical fitness as efficiently as exercise or why regular exercise may hinder weight loss. A new fun fact to add to this list comes from comparatively new research that says the number of push-ups you should be able to do to significantly reduce incident cardiovascular disease event risk is 40.
The longitudinal cohort study (opens in new tab), conducted in 2019, examined 1104 occupationally active adult men and found a significant negative association between baseline push-up capacity and incident cardiovascular disease risk across 10 years of follow-up. The paper says that "participants able to complete more than 40 push-ups were associated with a significant reduction in incident cardiovascular disease event risk compared with those completing fewer than 10 push-ups."
Push-ups are the best
The truth is, we already knew the push-up was one of the best bodyweight exercises. Push-ups have a range of benefits, apart from the obvious one (builds big pecs and arms), including improved core strength, better shoulder mobility and more. If you haven't tried them yet, here's how to master push-ups and the spiciest push-up variations, but make sure you avoid these push-up mistakes.
It's worth mentioning that the study looked at men aged 21 to 66 years, so we can safely assume that number of push-ups for women would be different (As a matter of fact, it's definitely different, considering the musculoskeletal differences between the sexes). Nonetheless, using push-ups is a cheap and easy way to assess one's fitness levels – which was exactly the point of the study.
Resistance training is gaining more public attention as one of the best ways to prolong life in a healthy and meaningful way. 'Resistance training' means exercise that uses resistance, whether a set of dumbbells, resistance bands or your bodyweight is what provides said resistance. As long as it puts the muscles under more (good) stress, resistance training can help strengthen the joints and keep muscles in top shape – and, as it turns out, it can also help you keep your heart in good condition.