Easy exercise that lowers blood pressure
Subversive research from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada takes the lead in stretching for those who want to relieve the high blood pressure through exercise, leaving behind the usual aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, which are recommended.
Although previous studies have shown the benefits of stretching, this is the first study to compare the two exercises.
The findings, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, highlight the need to add stretching to the program for people with high blood pressure or increased chances of developing it. Hypertension is the number one factor for cardiovascular disease.
“When we do stretching, in addition to the muscles, we also stretch their blood vessels, including the arteries. “By making the arteries more flexible, it facilitates blood flow and lowers blood pressure,” explained researcher Dr. Phil Chilibeck, a professor of kinesiology.
In the study, two groups of a total of 40 elderly men and women with a mean age of 61 years followed for eight weeks, a five-day 30-minute exercise program with stretching for one group and brisk walking for the other. All participants had increased blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension at the start of the experiment.
Participants’ blood pressure measurements with special portable devices before and after the program showed that the stretches had achieved a greater reduction in blood pressure values. The effects on blood pressure were the same when participants were seated, lying down and within 24 hours. The brisk walking team, however, seemed to excel at reducing body fat around the periphery.
As Dr. Chilibeck points out, the new findings do not stop aerobic activities such as walking, cycling or skiing, as they help reduce obesity, cholesterol and sugar.
Stretching has the advantage of being easily integrated into the daily routine, bringing benefits even in less than 30 minutes a day, as long as they focus on large muscle groups such as the legs. In addition, they are not affected by the weather, they are everywhere and anytime and, as the researchers pointed out, they are ideal for patients with osteoarthritis.
The plans of the scientific team are to find financial resources for the repetition of the study in a larger population sample, as well as to investigate the mechanisms that cause the causal relationship between stretching and blood pressure.