How passive stretching can improve cardiovascular health

There could be an "important news for cardiovascular health and for those suffering from diseases such as heart attack and stroke, among the leading causes of death in the world.

As reported by the Journal of Physiology, researchers from the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health of the University of Milan have in fact discovered that performing passive stretching would improve blood flow by facilitating dilation of the arteries and decreasing their stiffness.

Furthermore, according to a Canadian study, stretching would fight hypertension.

Also, not stretching before starting a fitness session can be a serious mistake and lead to various problems.

There is also a type of stretching that can be done comfortably in bed.

muscle, while those of the second, called experimental, to carry out a passive stretching program of the lower limbs, five times a week for 12 weeks.

So is passive stretching

Passive stretching is different from active stretching because, unlike the latter, it allows muscle stretching by means of an external force, which can be a physical person or the force of gravity.

Stretching also increases body flexibility.

But there is also active stretching

The results

The researchers who carried out the study evaluated the effect of this protocol both on local blood flow, the lower limbs, and in muscle areas not directly involved in stretching, the upper limbs.

At the end of the experiment, the differences that emerged were remarkable. In the members of the group that had trained, in fact, both the arteries of the muscles not directly involved and those of the muscles directly involved in stretching, showed an increase in blood flow. and dilatory capacities, along with reduced vascular stiffness.

and, in general, of all those that present alterations in the blood flow control mechanisms. If this happens, this training method could be used as a new non-pharmacological intervention to improve health and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, especially in people with reduced mobility or bedridden.

It can also be practiced at home

The ease of carrying out passive stretching, in fact, could prove to be very useful even during a hospital stay or after surgery, in clinical facilities, as well as at home. The fact that it is easily replicable even at home also makes it particularly usable in the current historical moment, characterized by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This new application of stretching could prove to be very strategic in the current period, during which an unprecedented pandemic is forcing people at home, limiting the ability to train better and consistently", underline the professors Emiliano Cè and Stefano Longo, of the research group of Fabio Esposito, teacher of Methods and Didactics of sporting activities.

If passive is confirmed, doctors may begin to routinely recommend that their patients with vascular disease do stretching exercises in addition to their normal aerobic routine.

"Exercise is one of the most effective ways to ensure healthy arteries, but until now the focus has always been on running, walking, cycling and swimming, thinking that cardio activities were the only effective ones. This study is exciting because shows similar benefits with different training. - said Dr. Nicole M. Weinberg, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California - If this can be reproduced with patients with vascular disease, maybe it will change the plans exercise, cardiac rehabilitation and other aspects of rehabilitation ".

The dangers of vascular diseases

Vascular disease is any abnormal condition of the arteries or blood vessels. Strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks can occur when blood flow is hindered by damaged or malfunctioning arteries. Blood flow allows oxygenated blood to travel through the vascular system to tissues throughout the body. Without good blood flow, organs throughout the body are at risk.

How to improve arterial health

It is important that the arteries are flexible and not rigid in order to be able to expand and supply more blood to the heart muscle and muscles involved in activity during exercise or to the abdominal arteries after a large meal. Regular exercise, weight loss and risk factor control are the most important things that can be done to ensure arterial health. Finally, when disease is present, medications can be helpful in dilating arteries. and minimize pain in symptomatic peripheral vascular disease.

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