Pushups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere without equipment. They work for several muscle groups at once, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, abdomen, and back.
Besides building strength and muscle mass, pushups also provide many cardiovascular benefits and can boost heart health. Studies have shown that doing pushups regularly can lower blood pressure, improve circulation, increase stamina, and even add years to your life.
Is Pushup Good For High Blood Pressure And Heart Health?
Multiple research studies have found that doing pushups and other resistance training exercises helps lower high blood pressure. A meta-analysis published in Hypertension looked at data from 10 trials with over 300 participants. It concluded that dynamic resistance training, like pushups, significantly reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research had 36 people with prehypertension perform push-up exercises for 6 weeks. They showed significant decreases in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure after the training.
Experts say pushups strengthen the muscles surrounding arteries, expanding the lumen size. This reduces resistance to blood flow and lowers pressure on arterial walls. The exercise also helps arteries and veins become more elastic, which improves circulation. Overall, incorporating pushups into your routine helps regulate blood pressure.
Relation Between Push-Ups And Life Expectancy
Research has linked being able to do higher numbers of pushups with a longer lifespan. A 2019 study published in the Journal of American Medicine tested the pushup capacity of over 1700 active firefighters aged 18 to 60.
It found that firefighters who could do over 40 pushups had a 96% reduction in cardiovascular disease incidents over the next 10 years compared to those who could do less than 10 pushups.
Another study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health followed middle-aged men for 20 years. It concluded that men who could do more than 40 pushups at the start had a lower risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. This ability to do higher reps of pushups correlated with added years of life expectancy.
The more pushups a person can do, the higher their overall fitness levels and cardiac health. Making pushups part of your regular workout routine can strengthen the heart muscle, lower bad cholesterol and improve longevity.
How To Do Push-Ups Effectively?
To get the most out of your pushup workout, use proper form:
- Place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the floor. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Tighten your core and ensure your hips don’t sag or stick up. Maintain a neutral spine by engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Breathe in as you slowly lower your body until your elbows are at a 45-degree angle. The chest should almost graze the floor.
- Breathe out and use your chest, shoulders, and triceps to push yourself back up to the start position. Keep elbows tucked in by your sides.
- Start with sets of 5-10 reps and gradually increase as you gain strength. Take short breaks between sets.
- For added difficulty, place your feet on a stool to create a decline pushup. Or perform pushups slowly and hold the down position for 1-2 seconds.
- Track your progress. Increase reps or sets as regular pushups get easier.
Pushups are one of the most functional exercises that build upper body strength while improving cardiovascular endurance. Research shows doing pushups regularly helps reduce high blood pressure, strengthen heart muscles, improve circulation, and increase life expectancy. As little as 1 set of 40 pushups daily can provide excellent heart health benefits. Include pushups in your workouts and feel the difference it makes to your overall fitness.
Ans: Aim to do pushups 3-4 times a week for optimal heart health benefits. Even doing a few sets 2-3 times weekly can improve cardiovascular fitness.
Ans: Standard pushups with hands placed shoulder-width apart are best for overall strength and heart benefits. Decline pushups are more challenging. Wall pushups can be done by beginners.
Ans: Beginners can start with 3-5 pushups and gradually increase to 8-10 at a time. Take rest breaks as needed. Build up to 3 sets of 10 reps, adding 1-2 pushups per set every week.
Ans: It’s not recommended to do pushups daily, especially at high reps. Take a day’s rest between pushup workouts to allow muscles to recover and strengthen.
Ans: Along with a proper diet, you can expect to see increased upper body strength after 2-4 weeks of regular pushup training. Heart health markers like blood pressure may improve within 6-8 weeks.