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Stretch Test Reveals Arterial Stiffness

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Stretch Test Reveals Arterial Stiffness

A simple sit and reach test may help reveal arterial stiffness in older adults…

An unusual study has found that flexibility may be directly linked to the stiffness of your arteries.

It’s known that arterial stiffness is condition that often precedes life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.

Study co-author Kenta Yamamoto, of the University of North Texas and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan, said in a news release from the American Physiological Society:

“Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated…

“This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening.”

To test yourself, sit on the floor and reach for your toes. If you can get your fingers past them and your older than 40, it is a good sign that your arteries are flexible.

sit and reach test Stretch Test Reveals Arterial Stiffness

Researchers are still unsure as to why flexibility might be linked to arteries. One theory is that people who are more flexible work their muscles in a way that slows down the stiffening of the arteries.

The study involved 526 nonsmoking adults aged 20 to 83 who were not obese. Each participant performed the sit and reach test, blood pressure levels and other measurements were also recorded.

After evaluating the results, researchers found that more flexibility was linked with less aterial stiffness, but only in middle-aged and older participants.

“Together with our results, these findings suggest a possibility that improving flexibility induced by the stretching exercise may be capable of modifying age-related arterial stiffening in middle-aged and older adults…

“We believe that flexibility exercise, such as stretching, yoga and Pilates, should be integrated as a new recommendation into the known cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise.”

However, it’s not clear if there’s a direct cause-and-effect relationship between greater flexibility and less arterial stiffness, the study authors added.

The findings were published in the October issue of the American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

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