A recent study* out of the University of Milan in Italy found that as little as 12 weeks of static stretching (holding a stretching position for 30 to 60 seconds without moving) can help improve vascular function.
For people living with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and using lifestyle changes to help keep their condition under control, this is great news. Why? Because stretching is something just about anyone can do.
Stretching Study Details
Participants in the study experienced lower blood pressure, reduced stiffness, as well as increased vascular function after just 12 weeks of passive stretching training.
The researchers gathered 39 healthy men and women and divided them into two groups. One group was instructed to do leg stretches five times a week for 12 weeks, and the other group didn’t do any stretching. Those who did the stretching regimen saw an improvement in their vascular system function.
Could Stretching Help with PAD?
This improvement could have implications for diseases that involve changes to blood flow, such as heart attack, stroke and even PAD.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), is a very common medical condition in which a build-up of plaque due to atherosclerosis makes it difficult for blood to circulate through the arteries and primarily affects the legs.
Not everyone has symptoms in the early stages of PAD. However, for those who do, the most common ones are pain, cramping and discomfort in the legs, calves, thighs or buttocks. The pain occurs when walking, climbing stairs or exercising, but usually goes away during rest.
Beyond Stretching, Make Physical Activity a Part of Your Life
If you aren’t already in the habit of being physically active, it’s time to think about it. Regular physical activity is good for a variety of reasons! It reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps in the reduction of other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and even diabetes. And as we’ve learned, it can help with relieving the symptoms of PAD.
PAD Treatments at Lam Vascular
Stretching and other forms of physical activity is a great first step in managing PAD. But if your symptoms become lifestyle-limiting, we may recommend intervention.
Lam Vascular & Associates offers laser atherectomy as well as balloon angioplasty and stenting. These procedures are minimally invasive and safely performed in The Lam Vascular Limb Salvage Center using state-of-the-art technology. This allows for a faster recovery and no overnight stay, in most cases.
Remember, regular exercise (including stretching!) can help minimize symptoms, limit pain and ward off disability if you have PAD. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get moving! And if you need us, we are here for you, with locations in Dallas, Rockwall, Arlington and Sunnyvale.