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Stretching Exercises (movements) Are Very Important For Your Heart

According to a study, just 12 weeks of passive stretching can help the vascular system and improve blood flow.

Researchers at the University of Milan, Italy, found that passive stretching increased blood flow in the arteries and reduced artery stiffness. Passive stretching is stretching where an external force provides stretching. This can happen with human help, with the help of a stretching device, or simply with the help of gravity.

The study involved 39 healthy men and women and divided them into two groups. One group was instructed to do leg stretching five times a week for 12 weeks, and the other group did not do such an exercise.

In those who provided, there was an improvement in the state of their vascular system

According to the researchers, this could affect diseases associated with changes in blood flow, such as heart attack and stroke. “In this Italian study, there was a significant improvement in flow-mediated expansion, which can also be understood as the ability of arteries to expand as a result of an increase in blood flow,” said Jonathan Myers, Ph.D., health researcher, and director of the Health Care System Laboratory at Palo Alto, California. He concluded that a novel finding in the study was that vascular functions respond with a rather remarkable change, purely to the effect of passive stretching.

He then added: “All this suggests that practitioners should regularly recommend stretching in addition to regular aerobic exercises for patients with vascular disease. The positive changes in arterial function under the influence of stretching were not as great as those usually seen during aerobic exercises, but further studies are needed to determine the extent to which passive stretching can complement aerobic exercises.”

If the study results were repeated specifically in people with vascular disease, the researchers would be able to determine if passive stretching could be an appropriate treatment to improve vascular health. “Exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintain healthy arteries, but many of the most studied exercises focus on the cardiovascular system, such as running, walking, cycling, swimming. This study is exciting because it shows similar benefits to non-cardio training,” said Dr. Nicole M. Weinberg, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Arterial stiffness is dangerous

The term” vascular disease” is used to describe any abnormal condition of blood vessels. The vascular system consists of more than 150,000 kilometers of blood vessels. Problems in the vascular system can have serious consequences and cause pain, disability, or death. Blood clots (stroke, pulmonary embolism, heart attack) can occur in case of damage to blood vessels.

“Good blood flow reduces pressure in the system, which causes less damage to the artery wall. Reduced blood flow due to improperly maintained arteries can lead to higher blood pressure, which can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack,” said Dr. Sanjiv Patel, an interventional cardiologist at the Orange Coast Medical Center MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute.

Blood flow allows oxygen-enriched blood to reach the tissues of the whole body through the vascular system. Arterial stiffness is dangerous because it can be difficult to reverse it once it develops. It is necessary to work on mechanisms such as stretching in the hope that it will increase the elasticity of blood vessels,” adds Dr. Weinberg.

Emiliano C, Ph.D., one of the authors of the Italian study, says: “This new use of stretching is especially important in the current pandemic period, when the possibility of heart patients, to perform beneficial workouts to improve and prevent stroke and other pathological conditions, is limited due to home confinement.”

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