Stretching your body regularly has many health benefits. Stretching prepares your muscles for action and helps in their recovery after a workout. Stretching regularly also keeps you limber and increases your range of motion. But according to a new study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, stretching is even better than brisk walking for lowering blood pressure.
Simply performing 30 minutes of stretching exercises, five days weekly can reduce hypertension, said the study authors, according to Eat This, Not That! The researchers from the University of Saskatchewan studied 40 men, all around the age of 60 who had high blood pressure. They assigned one group to a walking program while the other participants did a stretching routine. Both groups had their blood pressure checked regularly by the scientists.
At the end of eight weeks, the men who followed the stretching exercises had better blood pressure numbers than the men who walked briskly during the study.
“This finding is important as it offers people a greater number of exercise options for reducing blood pressure,” said the study authors, according to Eat This, Not That! “Considering that walking is beneficial for reducing other cardiovascular risk factors, it might be best to add a comprehensive stretching routine to aerobic exercise for overall cardiovascular benefit.”
According to Healthline, nearly one in three Americans has high blood pressure which greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Aside from medication, eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can help, reduce hypertension.
Stretching improves your blood flow and even helps you lose weight as dozens of studies on the benefits of yoga have found, according to the experts at Harvard Medical School.
“Even without formal meditation and controlled breathing, the gentle muscle stretching of yoga can reduce stress,” Harvard doctors said. “Stressed muscles are tight, tense muscles. By learning how to relax your muscles, you will be able to use your body to dissipate stress.”
Here are 15 of the best exercises for beginners. Hold each pose for 30 seconds and take a 15 second break to help reduce your blood pressure.
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