The Value of a Push-Up

As we grow older, our muscles naturally weaken without routine exercise. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this challenge. To improve your strength and health at any age, consider doing plenty of good ole fashion push-ups.

The push-up is a time tested measurement of fitness. For those of you who have been through basic training in the military or if you have played any organized sports, you will likely recall doing lots of push-ups as part of your physical fitness development process.

Push-ups are great for fitness because when done correctly, they involve virtually the whole body, including your arms, legs, hips, chest and abdomen. The push-up helps to build core strength, which is crucial for older folks because a strong core helps to reduce fall risk substantially.  Unfortunately, many people are missing out on the benefits of the simple push-up, sometimes because of so much emphasis being placed on cardio focused exercises.

Push-ups have always been considered sort of a “men’s exercise.” In reality, women, who by nature’s design start out with about 20% less muscle mass than men, should definitely do push-ups to improve their health and maintain strength as they age.

The proper push-up position starts with the body being fully extended with your toes and the palms of your hands on the floor. Start the push–up by bending your arms at the elbow. The goal is to touch your nose to the floor. Push-up from that position using your arms until your arms have reached a resting straight position, the same way you started out. Continue doing as many reps as is comfortable. Over time, the number of push-ups you can do should gradually increase as your strength builds.

National averages show that a 40 year-old woman should be able to do 16 consecutive push-ups. For men, that number is 27. At 60 years of age, men should be able to do 17 and women 6.

If you cannot perform at the minimum standards noted, then it is time to get to work. So don’t delay, start doing your push-ups today. In just a few short months, your body will thank you.

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