Regular Static Stretching May Improve Heart Health
We all know regular exercise is important for good health, but strenuous physical activity is not an option for everyone. For those who can’t exercise due to age, recent surgery, or other debilitating conditions, regular stretching may help provide a fitness boost.
In a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Japanese researchers recruited 26 healthy yet fairly inactive young men to perform a whole-body static stretching routine for 40 minutes. Before and after stretching, researchers measured pulse-wave velocity (PWV), which is a measure of arterial stiffness, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Post-stretching, arteries in the legs, arms, feet and hands saw a significant reduction in stiffness, with the greatest benefit coming 30 minutes after stretching. However, central arteries saw no change, meaning stretching won’t completely fill in for aerobic exercise (so don’t quit your usual running, swimming and cycling if you’re able!) but a regular stretching routine is a good option when aerobic exercise just isn’t an option.
BONUS: A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found those who stretched before and after exercise enjoyed a 23% reduction in soreness — and a 25% drop in muscle/tendon injury risk.
Published February 1, 2017