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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #311 Glorious Push-Ups
November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

In this newsletter . . .


Eons ago, in my USMC days, I thought of myself as a "push-ups master." I could do 100 non-stop. As an old guy, I've given them up entirely. Instead, I do chest presses with resistance bands.

Now I read there's some science that correlates push-up ability with heart health. Interesting. "If you can do 40 push-ups in a row,” Harvard scientists say, “your risk of heart attack is over 30 times less.”

That was a headline above a report published on a website called “," if you care to look it up. According to their findings, the number of push-ups is even more indicative of heart health than aerobics stress tests.

The report goes on to explain that even if you can’t do forty, every pushup you can do over a certain number can reduce your risk. That sounds reasonable enough, and I have no reason to be suspicious of their findings. So do I intend to start doing push-ups again? Probably not. I’ll stick with my resistance bands at this stage in my life (I’m 85).

After reading the report, I can imagine some elderly fitness folks in their 70s and 80s struggling now to hit the magic number of 40. A few beasts out there might be successful, and my hat’s off to them, but they will be few and far between.

I led cardio-kickboxing classes until I was almost 70. They were gut-busting workouts. And in those days, my wife would place a 45-pound Olympic barbell plate on my upper back and I would knock out 23 quality push-ups: chest to the floor and then all the way up, locking out on every rep. Forty reps without weight on my back? No problem.

So, did my high degree of fitness mean I was immune to heart attack? Not in my case. Because a couple of years later I had one, much to my surprise — and my doctor’s.

Of course, my story is anecdotal and certainly does not negate findings from serious studies by scientists with no axes to grind. Considering my fitness level at the time, my heart attack was an anomaly. The good news: I survived it and went back to working out, with my doctor’s approval and encouragement. As mentioned earlier, I’m now 85.

What is the takeaway message from all of this? It is that there are no guarantees. However, there are good odds and bad odds. The good odds greatly favor those who get fit and stay fit. And if a catastrophe should strike, one’s state of good health and fitness may likely get you through it.

On the other hand, we all know how to play the bad odds. Just be overweight and physically idle. That almost guarantees that big trouble will visit.

Stay healthy. Stay fit.


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Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

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The newsletter and website provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

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Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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