Study: Increase physical activity, decrease risk of OSA

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Friday, June 26, 2020

DARIEN, Ill. – Increased physical activity is associated with a lower risk of obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study published online as an accepted paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.  Researchers reviewed lifestyle, medical, socio-demographic and sleep health data collected from more than 155,000 adults participating in the Ontario Health Study. Based on the physical activity of participants with and without sleep apnea, the investigators determined that a modest increase in physical activity, including walking, is associated with a 10% reduction in the risk of developing sleep apnea. “Our results highlight the importance of physical activity as a preventative measure against developing sleep apnea,” said senior author Lyle Palmer, who is a professor of genetic epidemiology at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “One surprising finding was that not only vigorous physical activity but also just walking alone was associated with a decreased risk of sleep apnea.” The authors found that adding 20 minutes to a daily walk and increasing vigorous daily activity by eight minutes would be enough to achieve a lower sleep apnea risk. The findings are independent of other known risk factors for sleep apnea, such as sex, age, ethnicity and obesity.