New Research Reveals Stretching Can Help Lower High Blood Pressure
Stretching can do more than improve flexibility and warm up muscles before workouts. A recent study from the University of Saskatchewan found that it can also help lower high blood pressure.
In the study, researchers randomly assigned 40 men and women ages 61-plus with stage-1 hypertension into two groups. One engaged in a whole-body stretching routine for 30 minutes a day, five days a week; the other did a brisk walk for the same amount of time and frequency. Before and after the study, researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure.
After eight weeks, the stretching group had a greater reduction in blood pressure than the walking group. The researchers concluded that stretching your muscles can also make the blood vessels—including arteries—that feed them less stiff. Arterial stiffness can cause resistance to blood flow, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure. By reducing the stiffness, you reduce the resistance, which results in lowered blood pressure.