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Exercise improves sleep apnea in overweight, sedentary adults

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  • Sleep apnea
  • Exercise

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Dec 01, 2011
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Exercise training may be beneficial for the management of sleep apnea in overweight patients who lead a sedentary lifestyle, according to a study in the December issue of the journal SLEEP. Forty-three overweight or obese adults, with at least moderately severe sleep apnea, were selected for the study.

These adults were used to exercising less than two times a week. For the study, they underwent a 12-week session of moderately intense exercise training. The purpose was to see if the exercise would have an effect on previously untreated sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea was improved despite no changes in body weight. However, only about a quarter of study participants saw a 50 percent or more reduction in sleep apnea. But a 20 percent reduction in sleep apnea was experienced by 63 percent of participants. Together, these results led researchers to conclude that exercise training is moderately effective in treating sleep apnea in sedentary, overweight patients.