European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 6, pp 1227–1232 | Cite as

Acute effect of stretching one leg on regional arterial stiffness in young men

  • Yosuke Yamato
  • Natsuki Hasegawa
  • Shumpei Fujie
  • Shigehiko Ogoh
  • Motoyuki IemitsuEmail author
Original Article



Our previous study demonstrated that a single bout of stretching exercises acutely reduced arterial stiffness. We hypothesized that this acute vascular response is due to regional mechanical stimulation of the peripheral arteries. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of a single bout of passive one leg stretching on arterial stiffness, comparing the stretched and the non-stretched leg in the same subject.


Twenty-five healthy young men (20.9 ± 0.3 years, 172.5 ± 1.4 cm, 64.1 ± 1.2 kg) volunteered for the study. Subjects underwent a passive calf stretching on one leg (six repetitions of 30-s static stretch with a 10-s recovery). Pulse wave velocity (PWV, an index of arterial stiffness), blood pressure (BP), and heart rate (HR) were measured before and immediately, 15, and 30 min after the stretching.


Femoral–ankle PWV (faPWV) in the stretched leg was significantly decreased from baseline (835.0 ± 15.9 cm/s) to immediately (802.9 ± 16.8 cm/s, P < 0.01) and 15 min (810.5 ± 16.0 cm/s, P < 0.01) after the stretching, despite no changes in systolic and diastolic BP, or HR. However, faPWV in the non-stretched leg was not significantly altered at any time. Brachial–ankle PWV (baPWV) also showed similar responses with faPWV, but this response was not significant. Additionally, the passive stretching did not alter carotid–femoral PWV (cfPWV).


These results suggest that mechanical stimulation to peripheral arteries as induced by static passive stretch may modulate arterial wall properties directly, rather than resulting in a systemic effect.


Pulse wave velocity Blood pressure Stretching Vasodilation 



Analysis of variance


Brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity


Body mass index


Cardio-ankle vascular index


Carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity


Diastolic blood pressure


Femoral–ankle pulse wave velocity


Heart rate


Near-infrared spectroscopy


Pulse wave velocity


Systolic blood pressure



This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (KAKENHI: #26282199 for M. Iemitsu and 16K01746 for Y. Yamato).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yosuke Yamato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Natsuki Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Shumpei Fujie
    • 1
  • Shigehiko Ogoh
    • 3
  • Motoyuki Iemitsu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Sport and Health ScienceRitsumeikan UniversityKusatsuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Physical TherapyAino UniversityOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringToyo UniversitySaitamaJapan

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