According to the NYTimes (An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up):

“Based on national averages, a 40-year-old woman should be able to do 16 push-ups and a man the same age should be able to do 27. By the age of 60, those numbers drop to 17 for men and 6 for women. Those numbers are just slightly less than what is required of Army soldiers who are subjected to regular push-up tests. “

It’s hard for me to believe that the numbers are so high, considering the numbers of Americans who are overweight.  But maybe I’m on the super-weak end when it comes to push-ups.

It’s only in the last 5 years or so that I’ve had enough upper body and core strength to do anything resembling a full push-up.  This is because of my yoga practice (plank pose and chaturanga dandasana especially).  Because of the benefits of flexibility, as well as strength and alignment, and mind-quieting, I want to do yoga until I am very old.

And now the information in this article gives me more reason to focus on the push-up benefits of yoga, for my long-term health.

“The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.”

“Push-ups are important for older people, too. The ability to do them more than once and with proper form is an important indicator of the capacity to withstand the rigors of aging.”