We inhale oxygen through breathing to survive and exhale carbon dioxide. Hence, every cell in our body requires a steady oxygen supply to produce energy. And without it, our body cannot perform its normal functions.
Usually, the normal blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level remains within 95%-100%. Below this range, it is called the low level of oxygen. Thus, you may face low SpO2 for factors like lung disease, heart disease, high altitude, and COVID-19.
Many medical professionals and individuals use a portable pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels. You can try breathing exercises, physical activity, and quitting smoking to increase oxygen levels. In this blog, I will show you how to increase your oxygen level and the benefits of using the best pulse oximeter.
How Can I Measure Oxygen Level in My Blood?
You need to measure the oxygen level first before claiming it low. Moreover, measuring it is essential for monitoring our overall health. It will help to identify any further health issues and treat them accordingly.
The handiest method is using the pulse oximeter. According to WebMD, the process of monitoring oxygen levels using it is non-invasive and painless.
An oximeter works by shining a light through your finger and detecting the blood oxygen level. The result is based on the color of the light transmitted through your finger.
You can clip it onto your finger, turn it on, and wait a few seconds for the reading to appear. Also, it does not require any needles or blood samples.
Several benefits of measuring oxygen level with a pulse oximeter are:
- Early detection of low oxygen levels
- Monitoring of oxygen levels during physical activity
- Assessing the effectiveness of oxygen therapy
- Useable at home or in a medical setting
- Quick and accurate results
What is the Normal Level of Oxygen in Blood?
Having 95% and above oxygen level is considered the normal level.
According to the Department of Health, the USA, 95% or higher is the normal oxygen level. But… “some people with chronic lung disease or sleep apnea can have normal levels around 90%.”
According to Healthline: “A normal ABG oxygen level for healthy lungs falls between 80 and 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).” They also say people with COPD may have an average lower percentage (88-92%.)
Similarly, Medical News Today considers the oxygen level between 75-100mm Hg. Below 60 mm Hg, it will be low level.
A person with a lower oxygen level than a healthy person’s average level might have hypoxemia in the blood. It refers to difficulty delivering sufficient oxygen to body cells, tissues, and organs.
Hypoxemia and hypoxia are quite similar health issues due to low oxygen levels. But hypoxia is low oxygen levels in your tissues. Thus, most people may have hypoxemia more than hypoxia.
So, if you are a healthy person without any COPD or lung diseases, your normal level of oxygen will be above 95%. Below this range, you may have problems with breathing, rapid heart rate, and confusion.
Here are some symptoms you may face if your oxygen level is low:
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain
- High BP
- Visual difficulties
- Sense of euphoria
How to Increase Your Oxygen Level?
The first method is through some breathing exercises. Some examples of these exercises are:
Diaphragmatic breathing involves breathing deeply and slowly from the diaphragm. You may also know this breathing technique as abdominal breathing or belly breathing.
You can follow these steps to do this exercise:
- Lie on your back prior to everything.
- Then, put hands on the chest and stomach (one hand per region).
- Next, breathe in slowly using your nose and feel stomach rise.
- After this, exhale slowly through your mouth and feel your stomach fall.
- Repeat all the above steps for a couple of minutes.
Pursed Lip Breathing:
Another effective way to increase oxygen level is doing pursed lip breathing exercises. You can do this exercise “after inhaling by puckering your lips and exhaling through them slowly and deliberately”. It is pretty similar to blowing out a candle.
Follow these steps to conduct this exercise:
- First, relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Then, sit in a comfortable position.
- Next, breathe in slowly through the nose for two counts while keeping your mouth closed.
- After that, purse your lips as if you were about to whistle.
- Then again, breathe slowly and gently through your pursed lips for four counts.
- Try to keep concentrating on exhaling fully and altogether to remove stale air from your lungs.
- Lastly, repeat this breathing pattern for a couple of minutes, focusing on slow, deep breaths.
Once you are comfy with this method, you can gradually increase the length of your exhalation to 6-8 counts. It may take only a few minutes, which is suitable for home exercise.
Box breathing is also known as resetting the breath or four-square breathing, according to Medical News Today. If you are having a tough day at work, this breathing method is more helpful.
You can do this method of breathing exercise by following these steps:
- You should find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably first.
- Next, inhale air slowly and deeply using your nose and count 1-4.
- Then, try holding your breath and counting 1-4.
- Afterward, exhale slowly and completely using your mouth by counting 1-4.
- Later, hold your breath for a count of four before inhaling again.
- Repeat this pattern for a few minutes, focusing on deep, slow breaths.
Regular practicing can help you increase the length of each breath to 5-6 counts. It will also take only a few minutes.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Besides breathing exercises, you can also increase the oxygen level in your blood by doing some physical exercises.
I guess you have already heard about cardio or aerobic exercises. Cardiovascular exercise is the same activity. It can increase heart and breathing rates for an extended period.
Some common cardiovascular exercises are:
- Brisk walking
Here are some benefits of cardiovascular exercises:
- Improves cardiovascular health.
- Increases lung capacity.
- Helps with weight management.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Improves sleep.
- Boosts energy levels.
Resistance training is also known as strength training or weightlifting. It helps to increase muscle mass, increasing the body’s demand for oxygen.
Some joint resistance training exercises are:
- Bench press
You will get these benefits from doing resistance training exercises for increasing oxygen level:
- Builds muscle strength.
- Improves overall physical strength and endurance.
- Increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improves joint health.
- Boosts metabolism.
- Enhances athletic performance.
- Reduces the risk of injury.
- Improves overall body composition.
Focus on doing resistance training exercises at least 2-3 times per week for better results and oxygen circulation.
Two standard methods of oxygen supplementation are nasal cannulas and oxygen masks.
A nasal cannula consists of two small prongs. These prongs are inserted into the nostrils and attached to a tube that delivers oxygen. Hence, the oxygen flow can be adjusted according to your needs. Usually, this device is used for oxygen therapy in hospitals and other healthcare atmospheres.
Here are some benefits of using a nasal cannula to increase oxygen levels:
- Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use.
- You can move around and perform activities while receiving oxygen therapy.
- Less intrusive than putting on oxygen masks.
- Less likely to cause dryness and irritation of the skin around the mouth and nose.
You should adjust the oxygen flow rate according to your needs. Also, it should fit comfortably in the nostrils without causing any discomfort or irritation. Keep the tubing clean and free from obstructions.
An oxygen mask covers the nose and mouth. It delivers oxygen to the body through a tube connected to an oxygen source. Hence, you can find these masks in most clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare premises. They are even available during air travel to maintain proper oxygen levels.
Some benefits of using oxygen masks are:
- Provides higher levels of oxygen supplementation than nasal cannulas.
- Ideal for people in need of a more concentrated flow of oxygen.
- Suitable for people having a congested nose or other medical conditions.
- You can use oxygen masks to deliver medication to the lungs.
You should also adjust the oxygen flow rate accordingly using oxygen masks like nasal cannulas. And do similar things to keep the flow consistent.
Other Methods to Increase Oxygen Level
You can follow some other lifestyle changes like:
Smoking damages the lungs and decreases their ability to absorb oxygen. You can quit smoking to improve lung function and increase oxygen levels.
Reducing exposure to air pollution
Try to stay indoors during times of high pollution. Then, use air purifiers, and reduce the use of fossil fuels to increase the oxygen level in your blood.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can improve lung function and increase oxygen levels.
Grow some plants
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis. So, grow some of them to inhale more oxygen.
Drinking lots of fluid
Drink water, herbal tea, and other fluids to maintain hydration levels.
I hope you have understood well how to increase your oxygen level. Now, follow the methods I have included in this blog. Try to use the most accurate pulse oximeter for better measurement.