Sleep Apnea Guide

I have sleep apnea and use this blog to provide unbiased info about sleep apnea to create sleep apnea awareness. If you have sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment.

Benefits of Excercise if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

I'm no doctor, but just someone with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) trying to navigate through the mine field of sleep apnea resources to try to find my way through, whether those resources are my doctor, books, magazine or websites about sleep apnea. One thing is clear:
  • There are more benefits to exercising than not if you want to increase your quality of life with sleep apnea.
When it comes to weight loss and OSA, there are a lot of viewpoints on the impact of treating sleep apnea. If we are overweight or obese, our doctor will probably tell us that losing weight can potentially reduce our level of obstructive sleep apnea.

The American Sleep Apnea Association also points out what you'll read in many places about treatment for sleep apnea. ASAA says that weight loss is not going to be a solution for everyone because even thin people can have OSA, but that additional fat around the neck can be a cause for some patients. For those who are overweight, losing weight can be a way to reduce the severity of the condition in some patients. This is one of those situations where asking your doctor makes sense.

But for any of us with sleep apnea, it seems logical that weight loss and exercise are even more important for us, even if it doesn't reduce our level of severity.


We are at a greater risk for various conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. One of the problems with treatment is compliance - not doing what the doctor tells you. This means not getting the proper treatment and the risks going up versus full compliance with treatment.

Most people have also had sleep apnea for a long time before receiving treatment. For me, I probably had sleep apnea for a good 10-15 years before knowing and getting treatment. And during those years, I was not doing regular exercise and had put on a few pounds. I have to assume that years of damage have had an effect on my heart and other organs and that exercise is a way to help reverse any past damage.

It's really not a hard decision to decide if you should exercise or not (as long as your doctor says it is ok). Here are some benefits of regular exercise for :
  • Potential to reduce sleep apnea severity. Enough exercise, combined with the proper diet, and you'll lose weight. Losing weight has the potential in some people with obstructive sleep apnea to reduce the level of severity.
  • Stronger immune system. Have you ever had the flu or a bad cold with sleep apnea? Wearing a CPAP machine while you are sick or congested is not fun, believe me. Regular exercise makes for a better immune system, thereby reducing your risk of illness.
  • Healthier heart. A healthier heart means a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and other benefits. For sleep apnea patients, a healthy heart seems to be extra important.
  • Reduced stroke risk. There are studies that say exercise reduces the risk of stroke.
  • Increased energy. This is another benefit particularly for patients who still suffer from daytime sleepiness. Extra energy can only be a good thing for everyone.
  • Lower stress and more happy. Less stress could potentially mean less chance for depression too, which is a good thing.
  • Stronger muscles, more muscle tone. I've been exercising regularly for several years now and the strength and muscle tone is a great benefit and big motivator because of the positive feelings it brings.
  • Prevent back injuries. I've read and heard that regular exercise reduces the risk of back injuries, which can be painful and immobilizing. For me, prior to regular exercise, I would have lower back pain when ever I did work around the home involving a lot of movement or lifting. After a lot of regular exercise, including back exercises, my back is a lot stronger and I am a lot less likely to get lower back pain. If you have existing back pain, be sure to check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program.
  • Increase metabolism. This means that your body will process calories faster, so that if you take in more calories than your body needs, it can handle it better than with a lower metabolism, helping to keep your weight from increasing.
  • Sense of accomplishment. With regular exercise, you really feel like your doing some good.
  • Better use of money. Instead of spending money on going out to a restaurant where you consume way too many calories and perpetuate your weight gain, think about getting a gym membership. Gym membership typically range from $35 to $50 a month and give you access to all sorts of exercise equipment. Want to spend even less? Get a pair of walking shoes and start regularly walking around the neighborhood. Do 2 walks per week and then gradually increase the duration and frequency. You'll be heading in the right direction.
Taken together, the benefits of regular exercise improve your overall quality of life with sleep apnea.

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About this blog

This website aims to create awareness about Sleep Apnea. I'm not a doctor or an expert on Sleep Apnea. If you have questions, please see your doctor.

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