If you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, increasing your physical activity could help improve your lifestyle, according to a new study.
A study published as an accepted paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that increased exercise can lower sleep apnea risk, a sleep-related breathing disorder where breathing stops and starts. Researchers collected data on lifestyle, medical, socio-demographic, and sleep health from more than 155,000 participants. After analyzing the data, researchers said that with just a slight increase in physical activity such as walking could cause a 10% reduction in the development of sleep apnea.
“Our results highlight the importance of physical activity as a preventive measure against developing sleep apnea,” said University of Adelaide professor Lyle Palmer in a statement. “One surprising finding was that not only vigorous physical activity but also just walking alone was associated with a decreased risk of sleep apnea.”
The research conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia is the largest that focused on the relationship between exercise and sleep apnea.
“The rates of sleep apnea in children and adults are continuing to rise. Therefore, understanding the role of modifiable protective factors for sleep apnea is important,” Palmer said. “Exercise is one such protective factor and has many other positive effects on general health. Sleep health care professionals should be trying to get their patients to exercise more.”
Enhancing your physical activity has many benefits beyond sleep and could be the key to unlocking more benefits especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many people have experienced interrupted sleep patterns due to anxiety and stress caused by the outbreak.