Stretching can be an excellent starting point for those who haven’t had a workout in a while. It is easy to do at home, it keeps muscles toned and flexible, and it also benefits your vascular health.
What Is Passive Stretching?
Passive stretching (PS) is stretching that requires an external force like gravity, mechanical device, or a physician’s assistance. One typical example of PS the splits. In contrast, active stretching uses one’s strength. PS is typically used to cool down after exercising to prevent soreness. In some cases, doctors recommend it to patients to relieve muscle spasms after an injury.
Passive Stretching and Vascular Health
Researchers from the University of Milan used 39 healthy men and women to study how PS affects blood flow. Participants were divided into two groups:
Performed leg-stretches 5 times a week.
As the control group didn’t perform any stretching.
The results showed that after 12-weeks, compared to a control group, the stretching group had:
- Increased blood flow in arteries, which made them easier to dilate.
- Stretching also decreased arterial stiffness.
“Both of these changes may have implications for diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as they are characterized by changes in blood flow control, due to an impaired vascular system,” explain researchers.
Similar research now needs to be replicated in those who have vascular disease as it could be a new treatment that doesn’t require medicines.