Push-upsor press-ups are among the fit physical activities your body needs more often, according to health experts. Push-up is a conditioning exercise performed in a flat position by raising and lowering the body with the straightening and bending of the arms while keeping the back straight and supporting the body on the hands and toes. Experts however, advise to do such exercises under supervision as you need the right push-ups for the right age or weight at the right time.
“Push up is a well-known exercise that assists in shoulder therapy, dynamic joint stability training and has even been noted for its importance for the activities of people living with a spinal cord injury,” says Dr Eric Mutabazi, a senior physiotherapist at Oshen King Faisal hospital, Kigali.
He notes that push-up measures the muscular endurance of the chest, shoulder, triceps muscle, and is an indication for how one can handle his or her own body weight.
Mutabazi enlightens that push-ups are a basic exercise used in athletic training or during physical education classes or commonly in military physical training. Push-up is a multi-joint upper body exercise that can increase the upper body muscular push strength, shoulder strength, and performance of activities demanding high level of relative strength.
According to Dr Anita Nkusi, a physiotherapist at Oshen King Faisal, push-ups are a good exercise to strengthen your arms or upper limbs, however they are quite energetic. Not everyone can do push-ups off the floor.
She adds that you have to have strong upper limb muscles to do them. Most adults do not exercise their upper limbs on a daily basis, they should therefore adapt the exercise by starting with push-ups against the wall, progressing to push-ups on the table before doing them on the floor.
Mutabazi furthers says that the basic benefits of push-up as an exercise is a closed kinetic chain movement that targets to increase muscle strength on the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, as well as the scapular stabilizing muscles.
He adds that push-ups can be performed at home without the expensive exercise equipment hence saving your money on a gym membership. Push-ups are exercises on a regular basis which will strengthen, tone up the muscles and build major muscles, which can make daily activities easier and improve sports performance as well.
“Through push-ups, your core muscles are strengthened, specifically the rectus abdominus (a large muscle in the front of the abdomen that assists in regular breathing movements, supports the muscles of the spine while a person lifts something, and keeps the intestines and other abdominal organs in place) and transverses abdominis (a flat muscle with transverse fibers that forms the anterior and lateral walls of the abdominal cavity).”
“As you do push-up exercise, they stimulate the metabolism and blood circulation, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the rest of your workout. Push-ups also provide better results than many similar exercises. Athletes who include push-ups in their workout routine find that they are able to reach their fitness goals more easily than those following workouts that rely on other methods,” Mutabazi states.
Research studies have shown that performing push-ups can help increase testosterone levels, reducing risk of developing osteoporosis (a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D).
He adds that push-ups increase metabolic rate, they use a large number of muscles at the same time; also your legs get into the action. A muscular activity means that your heart must work hard to pump blood to your working muscles, which increases your breathing rate.
Nkusi warns that if you do push-ups on the floor with weak arm strength, you can hurt your neck and spine in general or strain other muscles.
Research however, shows that in addition to regular push-ups, you should also engage in other strength-training exercises, cardio activity and a healthy diet to meet your goals of a fit and strong body. There is no right number of push-ups for a person to do each day, the number you can do with good form depends on multiple factors, including your age, gender and fitness level.
Experts advise that, to significantly build strength in the muscles that a push-up aims, you will have to complete more push-ups than the average person each day.