Push-ups might not be one your favourite exercise in the gym but it surely is one of the most beneficial workouts, for both your body and mind. The amount of strength that it takes to perform a 25-rep set of push-ups is immense. Nevertheless, it is one of the most powerful upper-body workouts of all time. It helps you achieve a tight and toned upper body with a strong core. And the best part about this exercise is that it does not require you to get an expensive gym membership, a trainer or even a tiny piece of equipment. Just some space and of course, strength, and you are good to go. This single exercise targets a large group of muscles in your body at one time. As you gain strength, you can increase the intensity of the workout and with time, it will help you become stronger. A standard push-up activates every muscle of your upper body at a time. To perform a standard push-up, lie down on your stomach. Now balance your body on your palms and toes. Now slowly lower your body, bring it parallel to the ground and try to keep your body straight.
Push-ups have a wide number of benefits to offer. Let’s take a look at 7 such benefits of push-ups.
1. Improved flexibility
Push-ups promote better flexibility in the body. When you lower your body to the ground, the back muscles get stretched. And when you push yourself up, your bicep muscles are stretched. Practicing this again and again helps you achieve flexibility in the back and biceps. Improved flexibility reduces the risk of injuries as well.
2. Enhanced cardiovascular system
Push-ups target a number of muscle groups in your body at a time. Therefore, when you get down to practice this workout; this compound exercise activates a number of muscles in your body at a time. This gets your heart to work harder and pump more blood to the muscle tissues. So technically, push-ups get your body and your heart to function rigorously at the same time. This supports heart health and cut down on stored body fat.
3. Improved posture
Being on a desk job or spending too much time on your laptop can compromise with your posture to quite an extent. Sitting for too long weakens your core muscles and disturbs your posture. But there is one way of correcting this; practicing push-ups! When performed properly, push-ups activate your core muscles and help them become stronger. This helps you achieve an improved posture. An improved posture is one of the most passive benefits of push-ups.
4. Burn a lot of calories
Push-ups are a strength training exercise and these are not usually counted under the fat-burning exercises. However, by following certain techniques, these exercises can help you burn more calories that you usually would. This exercise needs you to put in a great deal of energy and that energy is actually calories. So the more energy you put in, the most calories you burn. And if you increase the intensity of this workout, you can lose weight.
5. Increases testosterone levels
With age, the hormone concentration both men and women starts changing. In men, circulating testosterone levels droop considerably. Research suggests that exercises like standard push-ups can be quite helpful in keeping hormonal levels in check.
6. Reduced risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis takes place when your bone density declines. This mainly takes place as a result of ageing. Sticking to a healthy diet and performing weight-bearing exercises can be quite helpful in this case. They increase bone density and keep diseases like osteoporosis at bay.
7. Reduces risk of injuries
Shoulder and back injuries are likely to take place if your body lacks flexibility. In this case, practicing push-ups can be quite helpful. Push-ups work my making your body stronger and more flexible. This helps you perform complex exercises easily, thereby cutting risk of suffering from injuries.
Higher salt intake can cause gastrointestinal bloating, says study
People report more gastrointestinal bloating when they eat a diet high in salt, a study has found.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US re-analysed data from a large clinical trial conducted two decades ago, and found that high sodium intake increased bloating among trial participants.
“Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints in the US and can be exacerbated in some people by a high-fiber diet. Our results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fiber, by lowering their sodium intake,” said Noel Mueller, senior author of the study.
Bloating is estimated to affect up to a third of US adults overall, and more than 90 per cent of those with irritable bowel syndrome, according to the study.
Bloating features a buildup of excess gas in the gut. The production of gas can be attributed to gas-producing gut bacteria breaking down fiber. There is also some evidence that sodium can stimulate bloating.
The study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, is the first to examine sodium as a cause of bloating in the context of low- and high-fiber diets.
The study analysed data from the DASH-Sodium trial, conducted at four clinical centres during 1998-99. It tested the DASH diet, a high-fiber diet which is relatively low in fat and high in fruits, nuts, and vegetables, against a low-fiber control diet.
Each of the two diets was tested at three levels of sodium, and the 412 participants all had high blood pressure at the trial start.
The trial was set up chiefly to determine the effect of dietary sodium and other factors on blood pressure, but included data on participants’ reports of bloating — data that Mueller and his colleagues analysed for the new study.
The team found that prior to the trial, 36.7 per cent of the participants reported bloating, which is more or less in line with national surveys of bloating prevalence.
They found too that the high-fiber DASH diet increased the risk of bloating by about 41 percent, compared to the low-fiber control diet — and men were more susceptible to this effect, compared to women.
But the scientists also determined that sodium was a factor in bloating. When they combined data from the DASH and control diets, and compared the highest level of sodium intake to the lowest, they found that the high-sodium versions of those diets collectively increased the risk of bloating by about 27 per cent compared to the low-sodium versions.
The key implication is that reducing sodium can be an effective way to reduce bloating — and in particular may be able to help people maintain a healthy, high-fiber diet.
Second-hand smoking dangerous:study
A recent study has discovered a link between second-hand smoking and development of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found out that exposure to second-hand smoking increases the risk of various diseases and the researchers investigated the link between exposure to second-hand smoking and CKD.
The study included 131,196 never-smokers who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study from 2001 to 2014. Participants were classified into 3 groups based on the frequency of second-hand smoke exposure as assessed with survey questionnaires: no-exposure, less than 3 days per week of exposure, and 3 or more days per week of exposure.
Participants with less than three days per week and those with three or more days per week of exposure had 1.48-times and 1.44-times higher odds of having CKD when compared with participants with no second-hand cigarette exposure
“Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace is still prevalent despite legislative actions prohibiting public smoking.
This exposure was found to be clearly related with CKD, even with less-frequent amounts of second-hand smoke exposure,” said Jung Tak Park, the lead researcher.
Vitamin C may lower BP, sugar levels in diabetics
Taking vitamin C supplements can help diabetics by lowering elevated blood sugar levels throughout the day, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, also found that vitamin C lowered blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes, suggesting benefits for heart health too. According to Glenn Wadley from Deakin University in Australia, the results may help millions currently living with the health condition.
”We found that participants had a significant 36 per cent drop in the blood sugar spike after meals. This also meant that they spent almost three hours less per day living in a state of hyperglycaemia,” Wadley said. “This is extremely positive news as hyperglycaemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people living with type 2 diabetes,” he said.
“We also found that the proportion of people with hypertension halved after taking the vitamin C capsules, with both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels dropping significantly,” Wadley added. The dose of vitamin C used in the study was about 10 times the normal dietary intake and readily available from most health food stores, researchers said.
“Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help counteract the high levels of free radicals found in people with diabetes, and it’s encouraging to see this benefits a number of the disease’s common comorbidities, such as high blood pressure,” he said. “While physical activity, good nutrition and current diabetes medications are standard care and very important for managing type 2 diabetes, some people can find it tough to manage their blood glucose levels even with medication,” he added.