Previous studies have demonstrated that arterial stiffness is associated with lumbar flexibility (LF). Stretching exercise targeted to improve LF may have a beneficial effect on reducing arterial stiffness.Objectives:
We examined the effects of a single bout of a structured, static stretching exercise on arterial stiffness, LF, peripheral and central blood pressure (BP), and heart rate (HR) and tested the association between LF and central arterial stiffness.Method:
The study had a pretest-posttest design without a control group. Thirty healthy women followed a video demonstration of a 30-minute whole-body stretching exercise. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV), augmentation index, LF, peripheral and central BP, and HR were measured before and after the stretching exercise.Results:
One bout of a static stretching exercise significantly reduced cf-PWV (t29 = 2.708, P = .011) and HR (t29 = 7.160, P = .000) and increased LF (t29 = 12.248, P < .000). Augmentation index and peripheral and central BP also decreased but did not reach statistical significance. Despite no association found between cf-PWV and LF, the larger increase in LF the subjects had, the larger decrease in cf-PWV they had after exercise (r = 0.500, P = .005).Conclusions:
Study findings highlight the potential benefit of a static stretching exercise on central arterial stiffness, an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity. Static stretching exercise conducted in the sitting position may be used as an effective intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk after a cardiac event or for patients whose sympathetic function should not be overly activated or whose gaits are not stable.