In the movie “Rocky,” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) does 11 one-arm and clap-and-dip push-ups that give ferocious definition to his muscles and make it clear that he has amazing stamina.
The benefits of pushups were recently confirmed by a study in JAMA Open Network. Researchers found that pushup ability directly correlates with resistance to heart disease.
They studied more than 1,100 Indiana firefighters for 10 years and found that guys who were able to perform 40 push-ups had significantly lower risk for heart attack and stroke than their colleagues who were only able to complete fewer than 10 push-ups.
The study showed that at any level above 10, being able to do push-ups lowered the risk for high blood pressure and high levels of bad LDL cholesterol and glucose.
The study also found that “cancer deaths were almost double in participants with poor compared to good functional capacity.”
Another recent study shows that taking the stairs also can give you solid clues to your heart health and overall health.
Researchers in Spain found that a person who can, without stopping, walk up three flights of stairs very quickly or four flights quickly (but not very quickly) is in excellent health, and has a lower risk for premature death from heart disease and cancer.
If you can't do that, the scientists add, it's a solid indication you need to exercise more (make sure to talk with your doc before you start, though).
Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of activity a week. Then hit the floor and give us 11.