August 1, 2019
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 (geezer?), I've given them up entirely. Instead, I do chest presses with resistance bands. Now I read there's science that correlates push-up ability with heart health. Hmm.
"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 the headline above a report that ran on a website called “inc.com," if you care to look it up. According to their findings, the push-ups number 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 to me. And I have no reason to be suspicious of their findings. However, 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 82).
After reading the report, I can imagine some elderly fitness folks in their 70s and 80s struggling to hit the magic number of 40. A few mutants 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. 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 and locking out on every rep. So? Forty reps with no weight on my back? That was a casual walk on a pleasant day. Did this
high degree of fitness mean I was immune to heart attack? Not in my case. 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. Like I say, “Things happen.” The good news: I survived it and went back to working out, with my doctor’s approval and encouragement. As I mentioned earlier, I’m now 82.
What is the takeaway message from all of this? For me it is that there are no guarantees. I wish there were. But there are good odds and bad odds. The good odds greatly favor those who get fit and stay fit. Those who lead healthful lives. And if 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. It almost guarantees
that big trouble will visit.
To help get fit and stay fit, please go here.
Happy days to all,
Senior Exercise central
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