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. NEXT ON HEALTH24X Need motivation? Joel Stransky stood on the podium at the Cape Epic, a year after being in ICU 2018-04-12 10:30 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 Diet and nutrition The best way to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism Fitness 6 sports to take up in winter so you stay active, get fitter and build more muscle Lifestyle Why guys are spending thousands of rands a year to produce more semen Fitness ‘I finally learnt how to skip at the age of 36 – this is how you can do it too’ Lifestyle What exactly are ‘dense breasts’? Sex Can you masturbate too much? From our sponsors Win a R1 500 hamper with Alpecin Hypertension Consumer Fact Sheet Understanding diabetes self-management WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Live healthier Mental health & your work » How open are you about mental illness in the workplace? Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips. Sleep & You » Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia 6 things that are sabotaging your sleep Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.