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Can Stretching Lower Blood Pressure?

    Stretching offers numerous health benefits, mainly for reducing body stiffness and making your body more agile and flexible. For years, stretching has only been reserved for warm-ups before working out and cooling down after exercise. While it does serve both purposes, the benefits of stretching far surpass just being flexible and reducing muscle tension before and after a workout.

    According to Stretch 22, regular stretching can help in lowering blood pressure. This article would discuss how stretching can help those suffering from hypertension, as well as other benefits of stretching.

    Understanding Stretching

    In terms of physical health and fitness, stretching is the process of placing specific parts of the body into a position that’ll elongate or lengthen the muscles and associated soft tissues. 

    During stretching, a number of changes start to occur within the body, particularly within the muscles themselves. Other tissues can also adapt to the stretching process including tendons, fascia, ligaments, skin, and blood vessels.

    Relationship Between Blood Vessels And Hypertension

    It’s important for your blood vessels to be flexible and not stiff. Arteries expand in order to deliver more blood to your heart muscle as well as the muscles involved in activity during exercise. If they become stiff or don’t expand properly, it can cause symptoms of chest pains or pain in specific parts of the body.

    Can Stretching Lower Blood Pressure?

    Most people think that stretching only stretches the muscles. However, it also stretches the blood vessels in that muscle, the arteries included. 

    So, not only can stretching help relieve the stiffness of your muscles, but it can also increase the flexibility of your arteries. Regular stretching can help your arteries become flexible and expand properly, which helps reduce resistance to blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure.

    Study On Stretching And Blood Pressure

    A study revealed that stretching has the potential to lower blood pressure and is superior to brisk walking or aerobic exercise that’s usually recommended by doctors. Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (USask), which was co-authored by Dr. Phil Chilibeck, kinesiology professor, conducted one of the first research to compare the effects of walking and stretching on blood pressure.

    The study randomly assigned 40 men and women with a mean age of 60. All participants have elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension at the start of the research. 

    The study participants are categorized into 2 groups of exercise. One did a whole-body stretching routine for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week for 8 weeks. The stretching program consists of 21 stretching workouts and the participants performed each stretch exercise twice, holding it for 30 seconds and with 15 seconds of rest between stretches.

    The other group was asked to walk briskly for the same amount of frequency and time. The walking group participants were asked to monitor their pulse and increase their walking pace if it’s less than 50-65% of the maximal heart rate for their age. 

    Researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure at the start and end of the study using 3 different methods:

    • Using a sphygmomanometer while the participant was sitting
    • Using a sphygmomanometer while the participant was lying down
    • Using an automatic, ambulatory blood pressure monitor set to take readings every 45 minutes during sleep and every 20 minutes during waking

    In total, the researchers took 12 different measures of blood pressure for every participant. In comparison, stretching had larger reductions in blood pressure across 5 of the 12 measurements than brisk walking. However, the remaining 7 measurements have no difference between stretching and walking.

    With that said, researchers concluded that an 8-week stretching routine was superior to walking for easing high blood pressure in people with stage 1 hypertension or high-normal blood pressure.

    Other Benefits Of Stretching

    According to Chilibeck, the beauty of stretching is it’s so easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Unlike brisk walking, you don’t have to worry about bad weather. Plus, because of the pandemic, people are usually confined to their homes where the possibility of performing aerobic exercise is limited. Also, it’s easier on the joints, which makes it suitable for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

    In addition, it doesn’t require a big commitment of time, which is another barrier to working out for most people. For instance, when relaxing in the evening, rather than just sitting on the couch, you can simply stretch on the floor while watching TV.

    Other than those, stretching can also be beneficial for easing body, neck, and back pain, increasing your range of motion and improving your posture.


    And there you have it. Stretching can indeed help in lowering blood pressure, along with other health benefits. Although more research is needed to back up the claim, it’s no doubt that stretching will provide you with a host of wonderful health benefits.