Swimming While Using an Oxygen Concentrator

Of course, like many electronic pieces of equipment, it can't get wet. Not only is it dangerous, but it will cause the machine to malfunction or stop working. Swimming while using an oxygen concentrator seems to be completely out of the question. But just like with all things, where there is a will, there's a way!

Before you jump into a pool while using your oxygen concentrator, listen to the story of one man who does it without hurting himself or ruining his expensive piece of oxygen therapy equipment. Jim T. of Michigan enjoys getting in the pool and getting some aquatic exercise as part of his fitness plan.

“I couldn't see not being able to get in the pool anymore. It's my favorite form of relaxation, and it's my favorite way to exercise. I need to get oxygen while I exericse because of my COPD, and for a time when I'm not exercising throughout the day.”

Jim figured out how to keep his Lifechoice Activox, which is a portable oxygen concentrator, safe while he did some light water aerobics, and while he did a few laps and floated like he enjoys doing.

I love exercising in the pool because it's so much easier on my joints than jogging or walking. I bike too, but it's nowhere near as enjoyable as being in my pool.

Not being one to be easily defeated, Jim secured his Activox on a lawn chair, located 4 feet away from the edge of the pool.

I wouldn't dare do this anywhere else but my own pool, because I know not to splash it and I have more control over the environment. I wouldn't recommend doing it at a community swimming pool. Maybe a friend's house, but that's it. I also wouldn't recommend using a concentrator that is plugged into an outlet. Just in case it gets wet, it would be dangerous.

Jim uses a long rubber tubing, which allows him to safely swim out across the pool, just far enough to do laps. He put the Activox in its case, and strapped it to the back of the lawn chair. The chair under an umbrella, to protect it from the heat of the sun. The lawn chair is also secured to a heavy table, so it won't get pulled closer to the pool.

I don't stay in for any longer than 15 minutes at a time, just to make sure it doesn't get too hot, and to double check and make sure it hasn't somehow gotten damp. It takes some preparation and caution, but it can be done. There are some cases where it shouldn't be done, though. Like if it's plugged in or if you're around people who might splash it. You have to be really careful!

You should always talk to your doctor before changing your exercise routine if you have COPD and need to use oxygen therapy.

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.

5 thoughts on “Swimming While Using an Oxygen Concentrator”

  • Robert Wysocki
    Robert Wysocki June 14, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    I have pulmonary fibrosis and love t swim. I have a lap pool in my yard and a 50' hose which is attached to my large concentrator. Problem is my cannula cannot prevent my inhaling water when I breath through my nose.
    I either a mask which can accommodate being attached to my 50 " hose. Alternatively, a mouth piece which attached to the 50' , that should work as well. My large concentrator can put out up to 10 lpm. Your suggestions are requested. Thanks.

    • Ed Rodgers

      Robert, Great that you are staying active and swimming. I am not aware of any mask or mouth piece that is available that will help you in this scenario. But putting it out on the blog is a good place to see if others have (or know of) a solution either bought or created for you to explore. I do hope there is a solution out there and look forward to hearing of what comes back. Good luck and keep doing those laps.

      All the Best.

  • Marilyn Kaull

    I do deep water aerobics in a pool, lake or salt water. I use a small tank in an inflatable cocktail holder for a pool. I tether the floatie to my waist with a 6 ft. polyester line to prevent the oxygen cannula from pulling on my nose as the floatie moves in the water. This activity takes the place of lap swimming. Pictures are available!


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