(Captain’s Log: stardate 3/4/19 15:52 Aerolineas Argentina’s Flight 1466 Buenos Aires to Mendoza.)
Cardiovascular Disease (“CVD”) is the most common killer of people worldwide. Two primary ways doctors stay on top of their patients’ risk for CVD is to (a) perform tests such as periodic EKGs and examining cholesterol and other markers in the blood and (b) self-reported exercise and diet measures. It is rare, and often expensive, to measure a patient’s actual cardiovascular fitness, which is too bad as fitness (or lack thereof) is a major factor influencing CVD risk.
A recent study has devised a simple test that can measure a patient’s CVD risk: how many push-ups he can perform. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association involved 1,104 male firefighters tracked over ten years. As part of their physicals, they were “instructed to begin push-ups in time with a metronome set at 80 beats per minute. Clinic staff counted the number of push-ups completed until the participant reached 80, missed 3 or more beats of the metronome, or stopped owing to exhaustion or other symptoms (dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, or shortness of breath). Numbers of push-ups were arbitrarily divided into 5 categories in increments of 10 push-ups for each category.”
“We observed significantly lower CVD incident rate ratios in all groups with higher push-up capacity compared with the group with the lowest baseline push-up capacity. Participants able to complete more than 40 push-ups had a 96% reduction in incident CVD events compared with those completing fewer than 10 push-ups.”
“Muscular strength has been shown to have an independent protective effect for all-cause mortality and hypertension in healthy males and is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome incidence and prevalence.”
This result is similar to a similar finding about the relationship between grip strength and mortality. The IFOD discussing this finding is here: Some Gripping Facts.