Effect of exercise training on sleep apnea: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kenneth D. Aiello, William G. Caughey, Bhargava Nelluri, Ashwini Sharma, Farouk Mookadam, Martina Mookadam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Introduction Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is difficult to manage for those who are intolerant or noncompliant with standard facial mask treatment options. Current treatment options do not address the underlying cause of OSA. Exercise as a treatment option has been found to improve OSA indices. Study objectives To assess the efficacy of exercise on apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) in adult patients with OSA via a systematic review and meta-analysis. Additional objectives included evaluation of other indices of OSA and well-being in patients after completing an exercise regimen. Measurements and results Web of Science, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched based on a priori criteria of all studies evaluating the effect of an exercise program on various sleep apnea indices. Both PRISMA statement and MOOSE consensus statement were adhered to. Eight Articles (182 participants) were included: a meta-analysis using a random effects model showed, a decrease in AHI (unstandardized mean difference [USMD], -0.536, 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.865 to -0.206, I2, 20%), reduced Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) (USMD, -1.246, 95% CI, -2.397 to -0.0953, I2, 0%), and lower body mass index (BMI) (USMD, -0.0473, 95% CI, -0.0375 to 0.280, I2, 0%), in patients receiving exercise as treatment. Relative risks (RR) and odds ratios (OR) showed decreases in AHI (OR: 72.33, 95% CI, 27.906 to 187.491, RR: 7.294, 95% CI, 4.072 to 13.065) in patients receiving exercise as treatment. Conclusion Among adult patients with OSA, exercise as the sole intervention was associated with improved clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Medicine
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Exercise
  • Exercise program
  • Meta-analysis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleep apnea
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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