Home > Fitness > News 04 December 2014 Sleep apnoea may lower your aerobic fitness People with this sleep disorder take in less oxygen during exercise, small study finds. 0 Man with sleep apnoea from Shutterstock ~ take a Flexibility test » Receive Health tips » Ask Fitness Expert » Join Health24 on Facebook » 10 minute bikini-ready workout Why you need strength to run People with sleep apnoea may have lower levels of aerobic fitness, a new study suggests.Read: Family docs can treat simple sleep apnoeaSleep apnoea causes the upper airway to become blocked by soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep. This causes pauses in breathing and other symptoms, such as gasping and snoring.Study variablesThe research included 15 adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea and a comparison group of 19 adults with mild or no apnoea.They pedalled a stationary bike at increasingly harder resistance levels – similar to climbing up a progressively steeper hill – and kept going until exhaustion.On average, people in the sleep apnoea group scored 14 percent lower on a test that measures the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during intense exercise.This measurement is called VO2 max.More likely to be obesePeople with sleep apnoea are more likely to be overweight or obese, and thus less fit, the researchers noted. However, they found that people with sleep apnoea had poorer aerobic fitness than those in the comparison group, even if they were the same body size.Although this study found an association between lower oxygen intake during activity and sleep apnoea, it wasn't designed to prove that sleep apnoea was the definitive cause of this difference.Read: No apparent link between sleep apnoea and cancerResults of the study were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine."Encouraging patients to exercise more is part of the story, but that is not the whole story," lead author Dr. Jeremy Beitler, assistant clinical professor in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said in a university news release."We believe the sleep apnoea itself causes structural changes in muscle that contributes to their difficulty exercising," he added.Read: A fat tongue may be disrupting your sleepThe researchers said measuring VO2 max may help identify sleep apnoea patients at increased risk for heart attack and stroke, which could encourage earlier treatment of sleep apnoea, which is underdiagnosed and often untreated. Read More:Can sleep apnoea affect your sex life? Sleep apnoea tied to memory problems Sleep disorders increase during pregnancy Image: Man with sleep apnoea from Shutterstock. Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. More in Fitness Helmets don't always prevent motocross injuries in kids More: FitnessNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Fitness 9 ways yoga can improve your sex life Medical Natural disasters linked to dementia Medical When your bowel movements go wrong . . . News Nerve stimulation restores sense of touch to arm amputees Partner Content 3 lamb flavour matches made in heaven Mental health Childhood PTSD may leave lasting imprint on brain From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.