Exercising while on Oxygen Therapy

You can enjoy an active lifestyle while on oxygen therapy. In fact, you should continue to be active in order to improve your quality of life. Weak muscles require more oxygen, which can lead to shortness of breath while doing simple tasks. If you are living with COPD, it is important to exercise in order to maintain your muscle strength and make your daily activities more feasible. It is not always the easiest to exercise while you are on oxygen, but there are exercises you can easily do while on oxygen that will benefit you. Make sure to always check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise routine.

Leg Exercises

Try leg exercises that don’t require you to move around too much. Add calf raises to your routine. Stand 6 inches behind a sturdy chair and hold on for balance. Inhale, then lift up on your toes and exhale slowly while holding the position briefly. Lower your heels back to the ground, inhaling slowly.

To gain stronger thighs, try leg extensions. Sit in a chair that properly supports your back, inhale and exhale as you stretch one leg at a time as straight as you can, without locking your knee. If this starts to get too easy, add ankle weights!

Arm Exercises

There are a number of arm exercises you can try while on oxygen. Arm curls with light weights will help get your arm muscles stronger. Hold the weights in each hand and breathe in as you lift the weights towards your chest while keeping your elbows down and then exhale slowly. Lower your arms back down as you breathe in.

To train your shoulders try triceps extensions. Simply lie flat on a bench or a yoga mat with a dumbbell in each hand. Carefully extend your arms till the weights are above your head. Bend at the elbows and slowly lower the weights towards your shoulders, then pause. Try to keep your elbows as still as you can throughout the exercise to ensure you are isolating your triceps muscle.

Low-Impact Cardiovascular Exercises

Low-impact exercises help to build your endurance without being too hard on your lungs. Indoor cycling is a great one. It is a heart-pumping cardio workout while you’re sitting down not bearing the weight of your body on your joints. Another safe option is tai chi. It is gentle and helps to improve your strength and flexibility. For more ideas, Silversneakers provides a longer list of low-impact exercises you can try. 

Due to the convenience of the portable oxygen concentrators available today, being on oxygen should not stop you from living an active life. According to the Lung Institute, your doctor may suggest you change the oxygen flow rate during exercise depending on your oxygen concentrator. Even with your doctor’s guidance and blessing always remember to listen to your body. If something does not feel right, try something else! Not every workout we listed may be for you, find out what works best for you and stick to it. You got this!