Dear COPD RT Coach,
I know it is important to have a regular exercise program to improve breathing and that pulmonary rehabilitation is a great way of exercising. Will my exercising also improve my oxygen saturation for daily activities I do without using oxygen, and will it keep my oxygen saturations higher while doing the 6 minute walk at my doctors?
–Exercise and Oxygen
It is known that muscles that are in better condition do a better job of utilizing oxygen. When you’re in better shape, you can do more, even if your lung condition itself does not change.
However, if a person with COPD increases their fitness level through exercise, it cannot be assumed that they will require less oxygen, or no longer need their supplemental oxygen. Again, your lungs are damaged and that cannot be reversed.
I’m not sure what you mean about the 6-minute walk keeping levels high. I will say that if a person with COPD does correct pursed-lips and diaphragmatic breathing, he or she can increase their oxygen saturation numbers by a couple points with activity and walking.
This doesn’t mean, though, that they can get rid of their supplemental oxygen. The best way to check for oxygen needs is to use a pulse oximeter in a variety of situations: Sitting, walking, doing chores, etc. and record your numbers.
Then have a talk with your pulmonary health care professional about what’s safe and right for you.
I hope this helps,
The COPD RT Coach
Ask the Expert is aimed at providing information for individuals with COPD to take to your doctor, and is not in any way intended to be medical advice.
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