Sleep Apnea Linked to Exercise Difficulty

Have you ever struggled to keep up with your workout buddies at the gym? The panting, out of breathiness could be triggered by sleep apnea, a common sleeping disorder than affects how your body takes in oxygen while you sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition that causes patients to suddenly start and stop breathing during sleep. Usually, it sounds like grunting or gasping. Sleep apnea is common in patients who are struggling with obesity. Weight gain on the neck can press down on breathing passages in the throat, making breathing at night difficult to do.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine investigated how oxygen levels in people with and without sleep apnea are affected during strenuous exercise.

The results were staggering. The VO2 max (a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen the person can uptake during strenuous exercise) from people with sleep apnea is 14% lower than from those without it. This means that people with sleep apnea aren’t able to burn as much oxygen during anaerobic activity as those who do not suffer from the sleep disorder.

Having a low VO2 measurement can speak volumes about your health. Researchers believe that having a low VO2 maximum can put you at greater risk for stroke or heart attack. People who suffer from obesity are also likely to have a low VO2, difficulty exercising and symptoms of sleep apnea.

Because weight gain is a common factor in sleep apnea, it is important for patients to practice good dietary and exercise habits. Taking better care of your body and health will make a world of difference to getting a good night’s sleep.