Habitual stretching exercise increases carotid arterial compliance, and acute stretching exercise increases arterial compliance in patients with myocardial infarction. However, it is not known whether this arterial adaptation is sustained after exercise. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a single bout of stretching exercise on the time course of systemic, central, and peripheral arterial stiffness in healthy young subjects.
Twenty-six healthy young men performed static stretching exercise involving the entire body (trunk, upper limb, and lower limb) for 40 mins. Pulse-wave velocity (PWV; an index of arterial stiffness), blood pressure, and heart rate were measured before and 0, 15, 30, and 60 mins after stretching exercise.
Femoral-ankle PWV and brachial-ankle PWV were reduced relative to baseline 15 and 30 mins after acute stretching (P < 0.05); however, these arterial responses were not sustained for longer periods, and both PWV values returned to the baseline levels within 60 mins. By contrast, carotid-femoral PWV was unchanged.
These results suggest that chronic and sufficient repetition of muscle stretch stimulation may result in chronic high arterial compliance, although a single bout of stretch exercise acutely affects arterial compliance.