Becoming proficient at push-ups — being able to do 40 or more — does more than help strengthen your upper body. It also might help stave off cardiovascular problems, especially if you’re a man.

That was the finding of a study, led by doctors at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, that compared the cardiovascular health of 1,104 active adult male firefighters over a 10-year span.

Those who had done 11 or more push-ups at the start of the study were less likely to have had a subsequent cardiovascular problem than were men who did 10 or fewer, said the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open. Those able to do more than 40 push-ups experienced the largest benefits — a 96 percent reduced risk of heart trouble in comparison to those who were able to do only 10 or fewer.

Exercises helps curb falls among seniors

A large review of studies confirms that exercise can be a good way to help reduce the frequency of falls in the elderly.

The analysis, in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, included 108 randomized controlled trials with more than 23,000 participants. Their average age was 76, and 77 percent were women.

The researchers found high-quality evidence that exercise reduces the rate of falls by 23 percent, and the number of people who fall by 15 percent. Exercises that required standing were the most effective. Tai chi, for example, reduced the rate of falls by 19 percent. But there was little proof that resistance training, dancing or walking programs had any effect.