In “Rocky,” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) does 11 one-arm and clap-and-dip pushups that give ferocious definition to his muscles and make it clear that he has amazing stamina!

The benefits of pushups have been confirmed by a study in JAMA Open Network. Researchers found that pushup ability directly correlates with resistance to heart disease.

They looked at more than 1,100 Indiana firefighters for 10 years and found that guys who were able to perform 40 pushups had significantly lower risk for heart attack and stroke than their colleagues who were only able to complete fewer than 10 pushups. The study showed that at any level above 10, being able to do pushups lowered the risk for high blood pressure and high levels of lousy 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). Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of activity a week. Then hit the floor and give us 11!

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Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email Heloise@Heloise.com.