In a study, the symptoms of sleep apnea improved in participants who exercised.
The researchers analyzed data from eight studies, involving 180 adults, most in their 40s, with diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea — the most common type — and compared those who exercised with those who did not. Exercise regimens included walking or running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike and doing strength training for as few as two and as many as seven days a week.
The studies lasted from two to six months. Among people who exercised, sleep apnea symptoms improved. It became less severe, according to a standardized scale based on the frequency of their breathing interruptions, and the participants reported better sleep overall and less daytime drowsiness. Improvements were similar regardless of the type of exercise people did and were determined to be independent of any weight loss.