Stretching for a Healthy Heart

Can Stretching Exercises be good for the Heart? With cardiovascular disease taking away people’s lives prematurely, more and more attention is going towards improving heart health and trying to prevent heart related issues.

Studies show that even just 12 weeks of regular passive stretching will boost your blood flow and circulation, improving your heart health, decreasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Experts say aerobic exercise, weight loss and lowering your blood pressure are all ways to improve the health of your heart.

Research shows that those engaging in passive stretching exercises had improved blood flow through their arteries and reduced pressure in the arteries, which reducers stiffness in the arterial system and improved vascular activity. Stretching helps us to relax and unwind, and this same relaxing can improve our heart health.  

Active straightening is a stretch where the stretch is given by an external force. That may be by a stretching buddy, leaning against a wall or object, or using momentum  based accessories.

Effective stretching on the other hand requires no outside force.

Just by doing leg stretches five times a week can improve your cardio vascular system. The researchers say that this could have implications for diseases involving changes in blood flow, such as heart attack and stroke. The artery ‘s ability to dilate in response to an increase in blood flow can improve significantly through regular stretching exercises.

The remarkable changes in vascular function merely by passive stretching is a relatively a new concept. Practitioners should regularly recommend stretching exercises for patients with (or at risk of  getting) vascular disease, in addition to regular aerobic exercise.

The positive changes in arterial function obtained through stretching exercises were not as large as those positive changes generally considered to occur with aerobic exercise, however further studies are needed to determine to what extent passive stretching can complement aerobic exercise.

Exercising is one of most effective ways of ensuring healthy arteries, and many of the types of exercise most studied are cardiovascular focused, such as running , walking, biking, swimming. Stretching exercises can complement fitness programs, cardiac therapy and certain areas of vascular disease rehabilitation.

What is Vascular disease

Vascular disease is a term used to describe any abnormal condition in arteries or blood vessels. Adult artery system consists of over 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Problems within this system can be severe, causing pain, disability, or death.

Stroke, blood clot (pulmonary embolism) and heart attack can occur when arteries compromised or not functioning properly obstruct blood flow. Improved blood flow leads to reduced blood pressure, resulting in less damage to the artery wall, which damage could cause more plaque from collecting around the arterial wall, narrowing the passage through which our blood flows.. Reducing blood flow due to partially blocked arteries may lead to an increased blood pressure, which may raise the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Blood flow allows oxygenated blood to travel through the body’s vascular system to tissues. Without a good blood flow, our most important organs are at risk. Good flow helps our tissues receive oxygenated blood. Regular blood flow is critical to ensuring that organs work properly. Issues that mess with this are arterial stiffness and blockage. It stems from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation. Arterial stiffness is harmful as it can be difficult to reverse once it settles in. You may want to address this as early as possible and work on mechanisms like stretching, hoping to increase vessel elasticity.

Improving your heart health

It is critical for arteries to be fluid and not rigid. Arteries need to stretch and provide additional blood to the heart muscle and muscles involved in exercise activity after a large meal. When they lack the ability to expand, it can worsen chest pain or leg pain in patients with peripheral artery disease.

Aerobic exercise, weight loss, and high blood pressure care may reduce artery stiffness. Medicines like statins can also improve stability.

Regular exercise and regulated risk factors are the most important things one can do to maintain arteries healthy. If disease occurs, drugs can help dilate the arteries to minimize pain if symptomatic peripheral vascular disease exists. Also, the results of this study indicate stretching enhances vascular function.

This is important because the general impression has long been that aerobic exercises were generally required to have a favorable impact on the health of the arteries. Stretching could also be beneficial to the vascular system during extended periods of COVID-19 confinement.

This new application of stretching is particularly relevant in the current pandemic period of increased confinement in our homes, where there is limited opportunity for beneficial training to improve and prevent heart disease , stroke and other conditions.

Stretching is good for all ages, it can easily be carried out at home and can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other types of vascular disease.

Best Stretching Exercises

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand tall apart with your feet hip-width, knees bent slightly, arms at your sides.

Exhale as you fold towards the knees, dropping your head to the floor while relaxing your back, neck and shoulders.

Tie your arms around your legs back and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute anytime.

When you’re finished bend your knees and roll up.

Spanning the neck , back, glutes , hamstrings, calves

hamstring stretch
hamstring stretch

Lunge With Spinal Twist

Start standing together, on your feet.

Take a big step forward with your left foot, so you will be in a stunned spot.

Bend your left knee and drop into a squat, hold your right leg straight behind you with your feet on the deck, until you feel a pinch at your right thigh ‘s forehead.

Place your right hand on the floor and swing your upper body to the left while you hit the roof with your left arm. Keep for 1 minute.

To the other leg, repeat.

Hip flexor rolls, quads, back

Lunge with Spinal Twist
Lunge with Spinal Twist

Side Bend Stretch

Kneel with the knees on the floor close, straight back and firm center.

Run out the left leg to the side . Keep it perpendicular on your body.

Lift your right arm upward, place your left arm on the left leg and curve your back and right arm slightly to the left. Keep the thighs face-up.

Keep this for 2 minutes.

To the other side, repeat.

The abdomen bends, the hips, the inner thigh, the obliques

side bend stretch
side bend stretch

Sphinx Pose

Lie right behind you on your back, on your knees.

Put your elbows on the floor beneath your shoulders and forearms while you lift your arms off the floor.

Push the floor on your hips and thighs and suggest lengthening your back while holding your shoulders loose.

Just sit up and feel a nice stretch in your lower back. Do not hyperextend, and if you start to feel some discomfort or pain, stop immediately.

Lower spine, chest, shoulders

sphinx pose stretch
sphinx pose stretch

Standing Quad Stretch

Stand together with the feet.

Bend your left knee and bring your left foot against your rear. Hold up your knees.

Placed one hand on a wall to support, if you need it.

Pull your glutes to the front of your legs to maximize stretch.

Keep for 2 minutes.

Over the other leg repeat.

standing quad stretch

Knees to Chest

Lie down on your back and bring the hands on your knees towards your face.

Hold the bottom up on the floor.

Keep in for 2 minutes.

Glutes, lower back

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