Is Stretching Good for Heart Health?

Most people know that stretching goes hand in hand with other exercises. Stretching can extend your range of motion, reduce stiffness and pain, and prevent injury. Did you know that stretching can also improve your heart health? If you’re getting some help with assisted stretching or working it out on your yoga mat at home, here are some facts about stretching and your heart. 

Blood Vessel Health

Passive stretching has been found to increase the health of blood vessels. One study asked young adults to do leg stretch exercises for twelve weeks. Researchers found that the blood vessels in the participant’s legs were dilated and had increased blood flow. Not only that, but the researchers also measured the blood vessels in participants’ arms and found that they were also dilated. This study had a few numbers of participants but opened the door for future research. 

The researchers in this study concluded that stretching exercises may be helpful for people with vascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. You are less likely to suffer from the effects of heart disease if you take preventative steps for your heart health. Stretching shows promise as a non-drug treatment for improving heart health. Since stretching is low-impact, it may be a good solution for older people that have a hard time with other cardio exercises.

Increased Blood Flow

As you engage your joints and muscles, you increase blood flow to these areas. The increased blood flow deposits more nutrients in your joints and muscles. This can also prevent soreness by carrying away metabolic waste that accumulates in these places. 

Increased blood flow also may have an impact on your blood oxygen levels. Stretching helps your body to move and use oxygen efficiently. Your tissues will be better oxygenated, which may help performance and recovery. 

Muscular-Skeletal Connection

Stretching is an important part of any cardio exercise routine. An article from Johns Hopkins Medicine claims that stretching exercises don’t help your heart health directly. Instead, they look at the benefits of strengthening your muscular-skeletal foundation and how that helps your cardiovascular system. Broken down, they believe that stretching helps your bones and muscles, which improves your heart health. 

Having flexible and strong joints makes it easier to do cardio exercise. Stretching also increases your balance, which can prevent falls and injuries that might slow down your training. This is less of a direct connection but is an example of why stretching should be an essential part of your fitness routine. 

Stretching Consistently

To get the most benefit out of any stretching routine, you will need to be consistent. Small changes add up to significant differences over time when increasing your fitness levels. We still need more long-term studies to determine how effective stretching is in improving your heart health. Short-term studies have indicated that stretching can help.

You should include stretches as part of your daily fitness routine. Know that doctors no longer recommend stretching before working out. Now they say that it’s better to warm your muscles before stretching to prevent injury. This could be as simple as a light walk before getting into your stretches. 

Assisted Stretching Can Help Too

If you are new to stretching, you want to make sure you get the most out of your exercises without injuring yourself. It would be best to have an expert in sports medicine or body manipulation, like a chiropractor. There are even businesses that specialize in helping athletes stretch effectively. If you’re interested in working with an expert in stretching effectively and safely, reach out to a stretching expert in your city.  

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