Log in
British Lung Foundation
39,082 members45,942 posts

Oximeter reading advice please

I find when sitting that my reading is anything between 93 and 96. Mostly 94. Although this evening it went down to 91 and when I did pursed breathing it went back up to 94. Wondering what it will be like when I start exercising on bike/treadmill. How low is too low? Many thanks

9 Replies

They reckon 88 is about the lowest to go although some on here go into the 70's. Also it depends on how quick your recovery rate is. I hope that helps.


Hiya Twinks, Mine is usually 93 at rest dropping to 86 on exercise. I do though go onto oxygen when exercising to keep it up. Have a good day.

Bobby xxx


Mine varies throughout the day but usually 93 at rest down to 89 after a couple of mins on the jogger.


I'm on Oxy 24/7 though because I am a retainer I do spend several hours a day without it. My understanding of it is that the purpose of the oxygen is to protect internal organs. On exertion when sats drop below 85 to 88 internal organs become at risk which is reduced when we use supplementary oxygen.

This is only my personal experience and a call to 03000 030 555 BLF support line will give you better info mon thro fri. Hope that helps.



Hello Twinks,

I too purchased an oximeter to monitor my oxygen saturation levels and was greatly confused and asked similar questions when starting to use it. (I have emphysema 'very severe')

The first thing to remember is it is only a guide and secondly that any readings are very individualistic therefore one can only say that a fit person's readings should range between 95 and 100%. I have read on other sites that below 92 is too low but this, taken in isolation, is wrong because it does not take into consideration all aspects of your condition.

At rest on air my reading is usually between 91 and 95 if very good.

What has to be understood is when at rest while sitting, there is little demand for oxygen therefore the reading is at its 'normal-lowest'. Then as you make an effort, walk etc, the oxygen demand increases and further drops the reading due to damaged lungs not being able to cope with the increased demand for oxygen. This drop, that causes breathlessness, does not usually last long if the effort ceases and then is normally followed by an much higher reading as the lungs start to catch up - often called the recovery time. In my case I can drop to 89 or 90 and recover to a reading of up to 98 after about a minute of sitting down.

Complex isn't! This why I now say leave it to the professionals, but if you wish to proceed with monitoring readings I can only tell you what I do. I take a daily reading under identical conditions at bedtime and overtime have come to recognise my normal reading. Any variance over several nights gives me a guide (hint) that something may be changing.

All this is from my personal experience - my respiratory nurse says forget readings its how you feel that's important!

As you can see, only you can find your too low level depending on your condition.

Sorry for rambling on, but it is a very difficult question - I hope the above helps,



That was a very informative "ramble" Pete. Thanks for that.

Regards, Bobby

1 like

Thank you so much Pete for taking the time to send me such good information. It gives me a good idea how to gauge it. Thank you so much. Take care


mine are similar to yours and go down to 90 on exercise .... so am told I don't need oxygen.


Thank you Julie. I haven't started exercise yet so be interesting to see what it goes down to. Hope you are well


You may also like...