Sleep Apnoea

Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, Edgecliff, Marrickville, Bella VistaRandwickLindfield and Balmain talk about sleep apnoea and what you can do to improve it.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is characterised by recurring upper airway obstruction during sleep. Some of the predisposing factors include gender (male), craniofacial anomalies and obesity. There are many secondary risk factors for health associated with sleep apnoea such as fatigue, memory loss, problems with thinking and judgement, disruption of normal metabolic function and cardiovascular disorders (Aiello et al, 2016). OSA isn’t really a condition that is talked about as much as others and many people think that using a CPAP machine at night is the only viable option. This blog will share some of research into how physical activity can improve OSA symptoms and other associated health risk factors.


In terms of modifiable risk factors, obesity is the main one. Aiello et al (2016) explains that excessive adipose tissue is often the cause of the airway collapsing and sleep apnoea, and exercise can lead to a reduction in weight and adipose in the pharyngeal airway. Further studies suggest that regular physical activity needs to be combined with other treatment methods to improve symptoms of OSA. Part of the aim of regular physical activity is to reduce the risk of associated cardiometabolic risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. CPAP machines are highly recommended for most OSA patients to improve their condition, and this should be used in conjunction with an increase in exercise habits.


One study concluded that regular exercise training (as the main intervention) reduced the severity of OSA by 28%, without any change in body mass index (BMI) (Mendelson et al, 2018). Despite my previous statement about reducing weight and BMI on OSA, it proves that exercise and simply an improvement in your fitness levels with no reduction in overall weight, has a significant benefit on your health.

As Exercise Physiologists we talk a lot about lifestyle and behaviour change, it’s a daily conversation with our clients. Research into OSA suggests strongly that programs designed to treat this condition need to have a long-term plan in mind. Longer term plans have the most success, as well as being objectively measured are more likely to create a positive behaviour change for those with OSA.

This research confirms what we know – exercise plays a significant role in managing your overall health, whether you see a reduction in weight or not. The metabolic improvements are great, and can be as simple as going for a walk every day.

Contact Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, Edgecliff, Marrickville, Bella VistaRandwickLindfield and Balmain  on 1300 964 002 to enquire today.

Written by Susannah Mah-Chut


Aiello, K., Caughey, W., Nelluri, B., Sharma, A., Mookadam, F., Mookdam, M. 2016. Effect of exercise training on sleep apnea: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Respiratory Medicine, 116, 85-92.

Mendelson, M., Bailly, S., Marillier, M., Flore, P., Borel, J., Vivodtzev, I., Doutreleau, S., Verges, S., Tamisier, R., Pepin, Jean-Louis. 2018. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Exercise Training Interventions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Neurology. 9(73).


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply