Passive stretching helps prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes: Three easy exercises you can try at home

Passive stretching is a type of stretching where you remain in one position and a partner, accessory or prop stretches your muscles through external pressure.

Myupchar July 03, 2020 14:53:13 IST
Passive stretching helps prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes: Three easy exercises you can try at home

Everybody knows stretching improves muscle function and is an integral part of being active. But did you know that there are different types of stretching? You might be more used to doing active stretching exercises, where you’re supposed to move your body as deeply as it can go, hold the tension for a few seconds, then relax. Passive stretching is the other type of stretching where you remain in one position and a partner, accessory or prop stretches your muscles through external pressure.

Passive stretching and blood circulation

A new study published in The Journal of Physiology has revealed that 12 weeks of passive stretching can help improve blood circulation in the body by decreasing the stiffness of the arteries and helping them dilate. The study indicates that the improvements observed in blood flow of the subjects due to easy-to-administer passive stretches can also reduce the risks of diseases related to the vascular system, namely stroke, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

The researchers believe if these results can be replicated in patients with these vascular diseases, then passive stretching could prove to be a new therapy to treat as well as prevent them, while also improving vascular health. In the meantime, you should try passive stretching while at home to reap the benefits as well. The following are some easy passive stretching exercises you can give a go.

Remember: Always exercise under the supervision of a trained professional. Go slow and stop immediately if it hurts.

1. Ankle stretch

• Lie on your back with your arms on your sides and legs straightened.
• Your partner should grab your right ankle and gently pull it while pushing the toes back.
• Feel the muscles from your ankles, up to your calves, behind your knees and up to the thighs stretch.
• Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then relax.
• Now, repeat with the left ankle.
• Repeat thrice on each ankle.

2. Hamstring stretch

• Lie on your back with your arms on your sides and legs straightened.
• Your partner should hold your right ankle and use the other hand to support the knee.
• Lift the entire leg by the ankle while making sure that the knee remains locked until the leg is 90 degrees from the floor.
• Hold this position for 30 seconds and feel your hamstrings stretch.
• Relax, get back to starting position, then repeat with the left leg.
• Do it three times with each leg.<

3. Chest opener

• Sit with your back straight and your legs stretched out in front.
• Your partner should sit behind you with his/her right knee bent on the floor and left knee to ankle against your back for your support.
• Now, raise your arms up and let your partner hold them up at shoulder level and gently pull them back.
• Feel the muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders and upper backstretch.
• Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax.
• Repeat five more times.

For more information, read our article on Floor exercises to stay in shape.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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