Improve obstructive sleep apnea with physical activity

Physical activity and weight loss can help you breathe easier when you have obstructive sleep apnea. Time to get moving!

You've heard it time and time again: An active lifestyle is important for overall good health. But did you know being physically active and losing weight can also help you breathe easier when you have obstructive sleep apnea?

When you're overweight, you're more likely to have extra tissue in the back of your throat that can block your breathing while you sleep. Losing weight decreases the number of times your breathing is interrupted each night. This means you're getting better sleep, which will help you stay awake during the day.

Bonus: Losing weight can help lower your blood pressure — important for anyone who has obstructive sleep apnea — and improve your quality of life.

You don't need to be athletic to be active

Adding more physical activity to your everyday life is a great way to lose excess weight. However, adding any activity to your normal routine can help your obstructive sleep apnea — whether you end up losing weight or not.

One of the best kinds of activity to add to your lifestyle is aerobic exercise, which is exercise that uses more oxygen and makes your heart beat faster than normal. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • You don't have to log hours on a treadmill. Try a few short brisk walks spread out over the week.
  • Exercise with a friend. It keeps you both accountable and on track.
  • Take the stairs when you can. It's a good way to get your heart rate up.
  • Park in the back of parking lots. Adding a few steps here and there is a simple way to boost your activity level.
  • Find an activity you love. Don't like to run? Try hitting the pool instead. Don't want to exercise alone? Find a group dance class or organize a lunchtime walking group with a few co-workers.

How much exercise should you get?

Work your way up to getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Start slowly to prevent injury and work up to moving more minutes each week at a higher intensity.

Incorporating more activity into your life has a wide range of health benefits. Not only does physical activity help your obstructive sleep apnea, it can also boost your self-esteem, improve your overall mood and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases.

Aug. 14, 2020 See more In-depth

See also

  1. Medication-free hypertension control
  2. 6 surprising signs you may have obstructive sleep apnea
  3. Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
  4. Alpha blockers
  5. Ambien: Is dependence a concern?
  6. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  7. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  8. Anxiety: A cause of high blood pressure?
  9. Bedtime routines: Not just for babies
  10. Beta blockers
  11. Beta blockers: Do they cause weight gain?
  12. Beta blockers: How do they affect exercise?
  13. Blood pressure: Can it be higher in one arm?
  14. Blood pressure chart
  15. Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?
  16. Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern?
  17. Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?
  18. Blood pressure medication: Still necessary if I lose weight?
  19. Blood pressure medications: Can they raise my triglycerides?
  20. Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?
  21. Blood pressure tip: Get more potassium
  22. Blood pressure tip: Get off the couch
  23. Blood pressure tip: Know alcohol limits
  24. Blood pressure tip: Stress out no more
  25. Blood pressure tip: Watch the caffeine
  26. Blood pressure tip: Watch your weight
  27. Caffeine and hypertension
  28. Calcium channel blockers
  29. Calcium supplements: Do they interfere with blood pressure drugs?
  30. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  31. Can't sleep? Try daytime exercise
  32. Central-acting agents
  33. Choosing blood pressure medications
  34. Coffee after dinner? Make it decaf
  35. Counting calories
  36. Diuretics
  37. Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?
  38. Do you know your blood pressure?
  39. Does obstructive sleep apnea increase my risk for Alzheimer's disease?
  40. High blood pressure and exercise
  41. Foods and sleep
  42. Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
  43. Home blood pressure monitoring
  44. Headache
  45. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  46. High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
  47. High blood pressure and sex
  48. High blood pressure: Can you prevent it?
  49. High blood pressure dangers
  50. How to get used to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy
  51. Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
  52. Insomnia
  53. Insomnia: How do I stay asleep?
  54. Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills
  55. Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
  56. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
  57. L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
  58. Living better with obstructive sleep apnea
  59. Making sense of obstructive sleep apnea treatments
  60. Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure
  61. Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
  62. Not tired? Don't go to bed
  63. Sleep apnea, obstructive
  64. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  65. Obstructive sleep apnea: How quickly will I see results from treatment?
  66. Pillar procedure
  67. Polysomnography (sleep study)
  68. Pregnancy and obesity
  69. Prescription sleeping pills: What's right for you?
  70. Pulse pressure: An indicator of heart health?
  71. Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
  72. Septoplasty
  73. Shortness of breath
  74. Skip booze for better sleep
  75. Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
  76. CPAP masks
  77. Stress and high blood pressure
  78. Tonsillectomy
  79. Tracheostomy
  80. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?
  81. Vasodilators
  82. How to measure blood pressure using a manual monitor
  83. How to measure blood pressure using an automatic monitor
  84. Obstructive sleep apnea: What happens?
  85. What is blood pressure?
  86. Can having vitamin D deficiency cause high blood pressure?
  87. Weightlifting: Bad for your blood pressure?
  88. What's your high blood pressure risk?
  89. White coat hypertension
  90. Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?