When it comes to heart health, even small changes in your daily routine can bring about positive changes and help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke—like walking more, getting plenty of sleep and adding more healthy fats to your diet. Now, researchers in India want to add stretching to that list.
In a recent study involving men and women between the ages of 55 and 65 years old, it was discovered that stretching the body for just 20 minutes each day was associated with a 20% drop in cardiovascular risk factors. Specifically, participants who did just 5 minutes of simple stretches (such as neck and shoulder stretches) four times daily lowered their heart rate, triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol levels.
“Since there is notable work done by the body during stretching, it yields marked cardiovascular health benefits,” said study author and cardiologist Dr. Rajneesh Kapoor, who believes the findings are important not just for seniors but for people of all ages.
For those with physical limitations that may prevent certain types of exercise, stretching is often still within their capabilities. And, while stretching may lack the intensity of other types of physical activity, this study proves that just a little goes a long way toward a healthier heart.