How many push ups can you do? A new study says the more you can do, the lower your risk is of heart disease.
The push up has been around for hundreds of years. We all know it's good for core and upper body strength - but here's what's new. Harvard researchers just make a fascinating connection in studying more than a thousand firefighters for 10 years.
"Firefighters, individuals in the test who were able to perform more than 40 push ups had a 96 percent reduction in cardiac events over the next 10 years," cardiologist Dr. Issac Grin Berg explains. In fact, in the study, as the number of pushups went up, the risk of heart disease went down.
But 40 pushups is a lot. And for the men in this study, the doc explains it's probably part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
"If you are able to do more than 40 pushups, pushups are not the only thing you do," Berg says. "You're active; you're not smoking; you're probably running; you're lifting weights."
So if you struggle to get those reps in, what can the rest of us glean from this research?
Well, researchers don't know if the push up test applies to women. But we do know resistance training, building muscle, benefits all of us.
"The message is to incorporate resistance training into your routine," Dr. Berg says.
So don't jump into a set of pushups right away, but you might want to start off slow. You can even try leaning against a wall and push off, and that can help start making push ups a part of your daily routine.