10 Ways Sitting Wrecks Your Body

It Contributes to Sleep Apnea
Advanced cases of sleep apnea may require the use of a CPAP machine. While there are often multiple contributors to the development of sleep apnea, getting regular exercise may help stave off the problem. © graustufe/iStock/Thinkstock

More than 18 million Americans live with sleep apnea, a condition that causes pauses in your breathing as you sleep [source: AADSM]. If you're male, over 40 and are carrying a few too many extra pounds, you're at risk. You're also at greater risk of having the condition, or worsening it, if you spend too much time sitting. The problem? Poor circulation and fluid retention.

During the day as you sit, your lower extremities retain fluid -- you can thank gravity for that. When you're lying down at night, here's what's happening: The fluid that's built up in your legs can now move freely about, and as it moves to your neck and upper airway it narrows your windpipe.