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
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