If you are looking to gauge your body health through a cheap health test at almost no cost at all, we have got a way to do just that. The test may have no consequences on your wallet, but may leave you burning some needed calories and a little out of breath.

A new study has revealed that middle aged men that are able to put out 40 pushups face a largely lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including safety from vital conditions like coronary artery disease and major events such as heart failure.

The study by first author Justin Yang and senior author Stefanos Kales took into consideration helath data of 1,104 active male firefighters collected over a period of ten years; from 2000 to 2010. The firefighters mean age was 39.6 and the average body mass index (BMI) 28.7. At the start of the study, participants were recorded for their pushup ability and submaximal treadmill exercise tolerance, with each undergoing an annual physical examinations and responding to health and medical questionnaires.submaximal

Over the course of the study, 37 CVD-related incidences were reported. Surprisingly, all except one were reported in respondents who did 40 or fewer pushups during the baseline exam. Through the tests, researchers found that men who could do 40 or more pushups had a 96 percent reduced risk of CVD events compared with those who were able to do fewer than 10 pushups. The capacity to perform pushups had a stronger linkage to lower incidence of CVD instances than aerobic capacity, as gauged by a submaximal treadmill exercise test.

Yang, who is an occupational medicine resident at Department of Environmental Health at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said there was clear evidence that pushup capacity was an easy way to analyse cardiovascular health.

He said the findings “provide evidence that pushup capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting”. He added that pushup capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of “submaximal treadmill tests”.

Although submaximal fitness tests are considered highly ideal predictors of a body’s fitness and health level, they are quite expensive and need plenty of time. But the outcomes of this study could provide a no-cost alternative to these highly important tests to gauge cardiovascular health

“This study emphasizes the importance of physical fitness on health, and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters,” senior author Stefanos Kales, who is a professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and chief of occupational medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, said.

This study was published in JAMA Network Open. However, authors note that as the respondents were mostly middle aged, active men, the results could not be generalized to other segments of population like women or men with differing ages and occupational activity.

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