Push-ups as a ‘quick and dirty’ predictor of heart health

A typical treadmill stress test can take 10-15 minutes. But new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests there may be a quicker and simpler way to examine heart health among middle-aged men: seeing how many push-ups they can do.

In a study published in mid-February, researchers found that active, middle-aged men able to complete more than 40 push-ups had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes when compared with men who were able to do fewer than 10 push-ups during the baseline exam.

On March 6, 2019, BBC World Service aired a segment on the study featuring study co-author Stefanos Kales, professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School. “It was surprising that a test that could be accomplished in basically a minute or less—a quick and dirty type assessment—was statistically more strongly correlated with cardiovascular outcomes than the treadmill test,” Kales said.

Listen to Kales on the BBC World Service segment (at 18:00 minute mark)

Learn more

Push-up capacity linked with lower incidence of future cardiovascular disease events among men (Harvard Chan news)