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Nice research paper about stretching and blood pressure.

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RE:  Stretching is Superior to Brisk Walking for Reducing Blood Pressure in People With High–Normal Blood Pressure or Stage I Hypertension


This is a nice recent paper about stretching and blood pressure.  It is behind a paywall.  I paid for the paper, but I don't think I can legally share it.   As a background, a number of studies over the last fifteen years have been pointing in this direction.   Most of these studies looked at animals, or they looked at the acute (short term) affects of stretching on blood pressure in humans.  This is the first longitudinal study over an extended time period.  In summary, we have some confidence now that a mild stretching practice can help reduce blood pressure.

My main concern with the study is that it only describes the actual stretching program in the most minimal way.  So, we don't really know what this "stretching" looks like.



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Maybe you can answer this from the full text (which I'm not going to buy): It seemed that the starting BPs in the stretching group were higher than in the walking group - this obviously gives the opportunity for greater reductions. I understand this if I take the sentence (and following ones) at face value "The stretching program elicited greater reductions than the walking program (P < .05) for sitting systolic (146 [9] to 140 [12] vs 139 [9] to 142 [12] mm Hg)". I presume this means the stretching group started at 146 and ended at 140 BP, and the walking group started at 139 and ended at 142. However because it is very telegraphically described, this may be a wrong understanding. If the numbers in square brackets are the numbers of subjects in each group, then its not clear why the before and after numbers are different in each group, and maybe if there were 9 in the stretching group and 12 in the walking group then it would mean the stretching group went from 146 to 139 and the walking group from 140 to 142. The full paper should make it clear; maybe you can elucidate.

The other issue is that the numbers are VERY small for this sort of study. And although the differences are quoted as being significant at P < 0.05, because of the small numbers, there is always the problem that unknown errors (such as unknown and therefore uncontrolled differences between subjects) can throw it out, especially where the numbers are small.

So interesting, though the full paper should make it clearer. Thanks.

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Jim, Sorry about the delay.  Your understanding of the numbers is correct, i.e. the stretching group went from 146 to 140 sitting systolic.  The stretching and walking groups were selected randomly from a pool of 20 men and 20 women. Five people dropped out.  The difference in the pre-intervention average sitting systolic between the groups is just a statistical chance.

Yes, the small size of the study is a huge limitation.    However, this small study size is typical  of research into exercise.  Studies of exercise get very poor funding compared to, for example, studies into HIV or cancer.   With less money, they are limited in how many people they can include in their studies.  As an avid exerciser, this state of affairs is very disappointing, but we shouldn't be too harsh on these authors because the problem is widespread in the field of exercise.

I would say the study is interesting, but nothing more.


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On 4/29/2021 at 2:49 AM, Chris 9 said:

However, this small study size is typical  of research into exercise.

Same with nutrition (my partner is in the final year of her Nutrition/Dietetics Honours degree).

Minimal funding combined with the fact that good research in the field is very expensive.

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