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Study Finds Passive Stretching May Improve Vascular Function

Passive stretching is a type of stretching in which you stay in one position for a set time. You’re able to relax your body while a partner, intensifies the stretch by putting external pressure on your body. You can also use the floor or a wall. A new study has found that passive stretching may help improve vascular function and reduce arterial stiffness.

Thirty-nine adults participated in the study. Half of them performed passive leg stretches for 40 minutes 5 times per week for 12 weeks. The other half did not perform any passive stretching. The researchers measured blood flow in the legs and in the upper arms at baseline, week 6, week 12, and 6 weeks after the stretching intervention. They also measured blood pressure and flow-mediated dilation.

Participants in the stretching group had increased blood flow and dilation in the arteries in the legs and upper arms. They also had decreased central and peripheral arterial stiffness and improvements in blood pressure. However, all improvements had returned to baseline 6 weeks after cessation of the stretching intervention. No changes were seen in the control group.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Milan and the University of Utah. It was published on July 1, 2020 in the Journal of Physiology.

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