It’s a simple little activity you do on your own at home
New vascular discovery improves blood flow and embiggens the member
Blood flow decreases with age.
The decrease in blood flow starves our bodies of nourishment and can cause cardiovascular disease and dementia — not to mention early death
Because of our modern lifestyles and diets, our aging blood vessels become narrow and stiff, clogged up with plaque.
Of course, there are many things you can do with diet and supplements to clean out and rejuvenate your blood vessels. I’ve written articles and newsletters on that topic.
Many people don’t know that stretching can also help to improve blood flow.
And it may be very helpful to incorporate a daily stretching routine while you wait for the benefits of dietary interventions and supplements to take effect.
The human research was carried out at the University of Milan in Italy. The results were published in the Journal of Physiology.
The vascular system consists of blood vessels all throughout the body. The stiffness and function of these blood vessels predict cardiovascular disease.
“Vascular function and arterial stiffness are important markers of cardiovascular health and cardiovascular co-morbidity.”
This study was designed to see whether stretching could improve the health of blood vessels and improve markers of arterial stiffness…
Thus allowing blood vessels to expand and let more blood through to supply the body.
The researchers recruited 54 healthy adults.
All the participants were put through a number of tests measuring the health of the blood vessels before the experiment began.
The tests were carried out again six weeks into the study, at the end of the study (12 weeks) and again 6 weeks later.
The participants were split into three groups.
One group performed a stretching routine on both sides of the body.
Another group performed the same stretching routine but only on one side of the body.
The final group performed no stretching exercises at all.
The stretching routine was done five days a week. It consisted of about 40 minutes of stretching of the leg muscles.
Participants would stretch in a certain way for 15 seconds and then take a 45 second break. It was pretty light work.
The researchers then looked for any changes in blood flow and blood vessel health in the different groups over time.
“Vascular function, arterial stiffness and vascular remodeling were evaluated before and after 12 weeks of passive stretching training and after 6 weeks from training cessation.”
The researchers found that stretching significantly improved the health of the blood vessels.
“After passive stretching training, vascular function and arterial remodeling improved.”
The major arteries became less stiff and more flexible.
This means that they are able to deliver more blood when under severe pressure to do so.
This could lower the risk of heart attack or other major cardiovascular attack significantly.
“Arterial stiffness decreased in all the arteries.”
An interesting finding of this study was that even the blood vessels some way away from those being stretched improved significantly.
The researchers found that while stretching both sides of the body was best, stretching only one side was almost as good.
This is good news for people with injuries or restrictions to one side of the body.
You can get some of the major benefits of intense exercise by light stretching of one side of the body.
Blood flow in the major arteries improved 30% when both sides of the body were stretched — but it also improved by 25% when only one side was stretched.
When the blood vessels are more flexible they are able to dilate (expand) and deliver more blood under less pressure.
In fact, a major reason for high blood pressure is that it is required to force blood through stiff blood vessels.
So you might expect that blood pressure would come down when stretching improves elasticity of blood vessels — and it did.
“Systolic blood pressure decreased by 4% and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 8%.”
It is important that blood pressure is coming down while the elasticity is going up — otherwise you’re just treating a number — and could be making things worse…
This is not the only study showing that stretching lowers blood pressure either — I have written about others before.
While the best options to improve vascular health are dietary and supplementary interventions…
The research shows you can get significant benefits from simple stretching — even just on one side of your body.
The bonus is that stretching feels really good — it’s a great way to release physical and psychological stress.
You should always consult a healthcare practitioner about treating and diagnosing health-related problems.