Breathing Exercises to Help Improve Your Oxygen Saturation

If you have COPD, your body has a hard time getting enough oxygen because of the damage that has been done to your lungs. Following instructions from your Doctor regarding taking your prescriptions, and utilizing oxygen therapy are incredibly important for maintaining adequate oxygen levels. Besides following your medical orders, there are a few other ways to help increase your oxygen levels.

Oxygen therapy is one of the most common treatments for maintaining your oxygen levels. In conjunction with an oxygen therapy regiment, your doctor might also refer you to pulmonary rehabilitation. At pulmonary rehabilitation you will learn a variety breathing and exercise techniques that can help to boost your oxygen levels naturally while being closely monitored by medical professionals. Many of the techniques taught to you can be used in everyday life, so that you may remain active longer and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you go to pulmonary rehabilitation, you will most likely start practicing pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. Pursed lip breathing is used to help ease shortness of breath while diaphragmatic breathing helps to train the diaphragm for more efficient and deeper breathing so that more oxygen can enter the lungs.

Below we will outline the steps to familiarize yourself with these two simple breathing techniques. Be sure to ask a medical professional before exercising and conducting pulmonary rehab techniques by yourself to make sure they are right for you.

Simple Pursed Breathing Technique

While sitting down or taking a leisurely walk, breathe in through your nose as deeply as you can. Purse your lips and try to exhale longer than you inhaled. This will help ensure that you are bringing in enough oxygen while expelling the carbon dioxide trapped in your lungs. You should also do pursed lip breathing while you are relaxing, 2 or 3 times a day, or when you feel winded.

Getting Started with Diaphragmatic Breathing

Lie on your back with your head supported by a pillow, and your knees bent. Put one hand on your upper chest and the other right below your rib cage, so you can feel your diaphragm moving to make sure you are doing this effectively. Breathe in slowly through your nose, and make sure only your hand under your rib cage is moving. The one on your upper chest can move slightly, but not nearly as much as the other. When you're ready to exhale, purse your lips and tighten your stomach muscles while you breathe out. This strengthens your diaphragm and trains it to help you breathe deeper. Practice this for three times a day, 5 to 10 minutes each time.

Remember, these are only outlines of the techniques many people use during pulmonary rehabilitation. For information breathing exercises, read 5 Helpful COPD Breathing Exercises - Breathing Exercises COPD. If you have questions on how to conduct these exercises speak with your licensed physician or respiratory therapist.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

7 thoughts on “Breathing Exercises to Help Improve Your Oxygen Saturation”

  • Vincent Genco

    Recently placed on oxygen with emphazema and my question is: Is it recommended to use an
    exercise bike while taking oxygen. ? Does it induce more oxygen into the system?

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Vincent. For your question to be answered you will need to speak with your doctor. Your doctor will have inside information into your medical condition and oxygen requirements. Speak with your doctor and inquire if using an exercise bike is safe for your individual medical condition.

  • Rk saini

    I thank you from the core of my heart for most valuable exercises at this juncture of life.I am 11 days younger to Amitabh Bachhsn G.

  • John Watkins

    Many thanks for the excellent advice on how to improve Saturation. I ave immediately started the breathing exercises as advised.. Sounds sensible to me and feel confident it will work and improve not only my breathing, but also my blood circulation relative to my ulcerated blisters on my feet

    • Ed Rodgers

      Thanks for the feedback! Glad you found it helpful. Good luck and check back in and let us know how it is going.

    VERONICA FELLOWS January 23, 2020 at 4:58 am

    Is it possible to avoid needing oxygen


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