Stretching can improve heart health
Stretching can improve heart health. Courtesy: Comprehensive Primary Care

Stretching Can Improve Your Heart Health: Study

July 22, 2020

A study has revealed that one can improve one's heart health if one decides to go on a mission of stretching for only 12 weeks.

Yes, just 12 weeks of passive stretching can help the vascular system and improve blood flow, the study says.

A report published in states that researchers from the University of Milan in Italy found that those who engaged in passive stretching had increased blood flow in their arteries and a decrease in artery stiffness.

"Blood pressure was decreased, central and peripheral arterial stiffness was reduced, and vascular function was increased after 12 weeks of passive stretching training," the report stated quoting the researchers.

Such stretching helps to improve the heart health of a person, the study added.

Passive stretching is a stretch where an external force provides the stretch. This can be through a stretching partner, stretching accessories, or gravity.

Active stretching doesn’t involve an external force.

In their study, the researchers enlisted 39 healthy men and women and split them into two groups.

One group was instructed to do leg stretches five times a week for 12 weeks, and the other group didn’t do any stretching.

Those who stretched saw an improvement to their vascular system and this, the researchers say, could have implications for diseases that involve changes to blood flow, such as heart attack and stroke.

"In this Italian study, there was a significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation, which can be thought of as the ability of an artery to dilate in response to an increase in blood flow," reported quoting Jonathan Myers, director of the Exercise Research Laboratory at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System in California.

"A novel finding from this study was the fairly remarkable changes in vascular function simply by passive stretching," report added.

Thus, if the research's findings are replicated in people with vascular disease, the researchers could then determine whether passive stretching may be a suitable treatment for improving vascular health.

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