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Doctors stretching for heart disease tests

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

A new method in heart disease testing may provide doctors and patients with valuable insight into individual heart health, according to research.

A study appearing in the October issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology claims that physical flexibility may indicate the stiffness of a person's arteries, HealthDay News reports. The researchers claim that artery stiffness, which often precedes some life-threatening cardiovascular conditions, can be determined be measuring how far a patient can reach toward his or her toes while seated.

By examining the flexibility, blood pressure and heart health of 526 nonsmoking 20- to 83-year-olds, the scientists found that greater flexibility was linked with less arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults.

One researcher went so far to suggest that improving flexibility through frequent stretching could curb arterial thickening processes associated with old age.

Dr Kama Yamamoto of the University of North Texas told the news source, "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."

The Stretching Institute indicates that flexibility can also decrease an individual's risk of injury, improve posture and coordination, and increase the flow of blood and nutrients to tissues.
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