Int J Sports Med 2021; 42(06): 481-493
DOI: 10.1055/a-1312-7131
Review

Cardiovascular Responses to Muscle Stretching: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

1  Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Educational Science and Human Movement University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
,
Marianna Bellafiore
1  Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Educational Science and Human Movement University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
,
Ambra Gentile
1  Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Educational Science and Human Movement University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
,
2  Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
,
Antonio Palma
1  Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Educational Science and Human Movement University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
,
Antonino Bianco
1  Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Educational Science and Human Movement University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
› Author Affiliations
Funding The authors did not receive any specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Abstract

The aim of this study will be to review the current body of literature to understand the effects of stretching on the responses of the cardiovascular system. A literature search was performed using the following databases: Scopus, NLM Pubmed and ScienceDirect. Studies regarding the effects of stretching on responses of the cardiovascular system were investigated. Outcomes regarded heart rate(HR), blood pressure, pulse wave velocity (PWV of which baPWV for brachial-ankle and cfPWV for carotid-femoral waveforms), heart rate variability and endothelial vascular function. Subsequently, the effects of each outcome were quantitatively synthetized using meta-analytic synthesis with random-effect models. A total of 16 studies were considered eligible and included in the quantitative synthesis. Groups were also stratified according to cross-sectional or longitudinal stretching interventions. Quality assessment through the NHLBI tools observed a “fair-to-good” quality of the studies. The meta-analytic synthesis showed a significant effect of d=0.38 concerning HR, d=2.04 regarding baPWV and d=0.46 for cfPWV. Stretching significantly reduces arterial stiffness and HR. The qualitative description of the studies was also supported by the meta-analytic synthesis. No adverse effects were reported, after stretching, in patients affected by cardiovascular disease on blood pressure. There is a lack of studies regarding vascular adaptations to stretching.

Supplementary Material



Publication History

Received: 11 August 2020

Accepted: 03 November 2020

Publication Date:
13 January 2021 (online)

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