New research published today in The Journal of Physiology shows that 12 weeks of easy-to-administer passive stretching helps improve blood flow by making it easier for your arteries to dilate and decreasing their stiffness.
Passive stretching differs from active stretching in that the former involves an external force (another person or gravity) stretching you, whereas active stretching is performed on your own. The changes they observed in blood vessels could have implications for diseases, including the number one global killer, heart disease.
Researchers at the University of Milan assigned 39 healthy participants of both sexes to two groups. The control group didn’t undergo any stretching. The experimental group performed leg stretches five times a week for 12 weeks.
Researchers evaluated the effe
Both of these changes may have implications for diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as they are characterised by changes in blood flow control, due to an impaired vascular system.
If this study is replicated in patients with vascular disease, it could indicate whether or not this training method could serve as a new drug-free treatment for improving vascular health and reducing disease risk, especially in people with lower mobility.
Moreover, stretching may also be used during hospitalisation
Emiliano Ce, an author on the paper, said: ‘This new application of stretching is especially relevant in the current pandemic period of increased confinement to our homes, where the possibility of performing beneficial training to improve and prevent heart disease, stroke, and other conditions is limited.’
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