Leg stretching could become an effective treatment for patients with vascular diseases
A new research published today in the Journal of Physiology shows that 12 weeks of moderate passive stretching helps improve blood flow, facilitating dilation and reducing stiffness.
Passive stretching differs from active stretching in that the former involves an external force (another person or gravity), while the latter is done on your own. The changes that researchers have observed in blood vessels could have implications for heart diseases, which is the leading cause of death.
New research shows that 12 weeks of passive stretching helps improve blood flow, making it easier to dilate your arteries and reduce stiffness.
Researchers at the University of Milan divided 39 healthy participants of both sexes into two groups. The control group did not perform any stretching, and the experimental group performed passive leg stretching 5 times a week for 12 weeks. The effect of passive stretching on local blood flow and in the upper arm was assessed. The arteries in both the lower leg and the upper arm had increased blood flow and dilation when stimulated, along with reduced stiffness.
Both changes observed and mentioned above may have implications for heart diseases, stroke and diabetes, as they are characterized by changes in blood flow control, caused by an affected vascular system.
If this study is performed in patients with vascular disease, it could indicate whether this type of activity could be a new drug-free treatment to improve vascular health and reduce the risk of disease, especially in people with reduced mobility.
Moreover, passive stretching can also be used during hospitalization or after surgery, to maintain vascular health when patients have reduced mobility. It has the advantage that it can be done at home by caregivers or family members.
Emiliano Ce, one of the authors of the paper, said: „This new applicability of passive stretching is especially relevant in the current pandemic period of isolation, where the possibility of performing beneficial training to improve and prevent heart disease and other conditions is limited”. Our recommendation is to pair this physical activity with a balanced diet focused on BCV prevention food models, such as the Dahna application.