Can Exercising Help Improve Sleep Apnea?


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – a condition in which you repeatedly stop breathing for brief periods of time while asleep – is a common and pervasive disorder that can seriously impact your quality of life. OSA can be treated effectively with approved treatment methods such as Oral Appliance Therapy. Pairing this with an active lifestyle can also significantly benefit your quality of life, helping to improve the severity of your condition and aid in your sleep apnea treatment. 

Sleep Apnea Risks

Your likelihood of developing OSA increases if you have certain conditions or features that narrow your upper airway. These include but are not limited to a large collar (neck) size, a large tongue, and obesity. Some risk factors you just can’t control; however, according to, an active lifestyle may have substantial benefits for both prevention and treatment of OSA.


The Evidence

A study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital published in the European Respiratory Journal followed approximately 130,000 men and women in the United States. Over a follow-up period of ten to eighteen years, findings clearly showed that higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of sedentary behavior were associated with a lower risk of OSA. Both moderate and vigorous physical activity were examined separately, and both were strongly associated with lower risk of OSA. Stronger associations were found for women, adults over the age of 65, and those with a BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2.


What Can You Do To Get More Active?

1.   Don’t stress about getting more active – it’s something that you can adjust to gradually. Start by setting a realistic goal, so that you can turn increased physical activity less into a short-term objective and more into a lifestyle.


2.  Start with easy exercise routines, and make it something you enjoy. For example, begin by getting your steps in on a nice walk every day, and eventually, you can add in options like resistance training and stretching. Whatever you decide to do, make it your goal to just get moving!


3.  Get support from friends and family members to help motivate you on your exercise and OSA treatment journey. That will help to keep your incentive levels high – and hold you accountable!


4.  Make it your mission to move during the day, whatever it is. Do you usually take the elevator to your floor at work? An easy activity boost would be to switch to taking the stairs.


5.   Maintain a healthy diet – this will help give you the energy you need to stay active!


6.   Try also exercising your mouth and face. Myofunctional therapy, which involves exercises to strengthen your mouth and facial muscles, may help to increase the airflow through your windpipe, which also may help to improve your sleep. This can be achieved via singing, certain tongue exercises, and practicing brass and woodwind instruments, among other exercises.



You deserve a good night’s rest. Getting active can help. To effectively treat your OSA, try our comfortable oral devices.  Ask your sleep physician about Oral Appliance Therapy today!

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