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Fitness

Stretching for 12 Weeks Improves Heart Health, Research Proves

A new study shows that stretching for only 12 weeks can drastically improve the health of your heart. Passive stretching can strengthen the vascular system of the body. This in turn improves the flow of blood which leads to better heart health.

The latest research was conducted by scientists from the University of Milan, Italy.  The researchers found through the study that people who passively stretch have an increased flow of blood through the blood vessels. Also, their blood vessels tend to stiffen less than others.

The authors mentioned the results after 12 weeks of stretching in the body. The blood pressure decreased to a significant level and the stiffness of arteries also reduced. The researchers also observed an improvement in vascular functioning. Hence, this leads to better heart health due to stretching.

The findings of the study come after passive stretching in the body. This type of stretching occurs when an external force is used to stretch the body. A person can achieve this by using a stretching accessory, another person, or just gravity. On the other hand, active stretching occurs without any external force applied.

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The research included 39 males and females with healthy bodies. The individuals split up into two groups. The researchers instructed one group to stretch their legs at least five times every week. This exercise continued for 12 weeks. The other group had nothing to do during this time.

After 12 weeks, the group who did stretches had an improved vascular system.

A person suffers from a vascular disease when the blood flow through the arteries becomes distorted. This can result in a stroke or a heart attack when the blood flow is not normal. The blood flow is essential to maintain healthy organs. The blood provides oxygen to the organs which are necessary for the functioning of these organs.

Dr. Neica Goldberg is a cardiologist and she is the director of the NYU Langone Center for Women’s Health. She said that it is important to maintain the flexibility of the arteries and prevent them from stiffening.

She said the arteries expand when they need to pump more blood to the organs. During physical activity, the arteries pump more blood to the heart and the muscles which are involved in physical activity. She said that if the arteries become stiff, the person tends to feel pain in the chest and the legs.

Other than medication, exercise can also help reduce the stiffness of blood vessels. Weight loss and aerobic exercise and treatment of high blood pressure are essential to maintain flexible arteries.

It is a general perception that only aerobic exercise can improve blood flow and heart health. But this new study shows that mere stretching can also reduce the risk of heart disease. This is beneficial for people who can not do aerobic exercises for various reasons.

This research is also important during the coronavirus as many people are unable to go to the gym. They can perform the stretches at the ease of their homes. Although this practice can improve heart health, it does not prevent any heart diseases altogether.

Bisma Nasar

I am a freelance writer and my field of expertise is Microbiology and Genetics. I also write about advancements in medicine and general health.

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