While they’ve been found in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities for years, pulse oximeters are slowly making their appearance known in new locations – fitness centers and gyms.

These unique devices are yet another tool that can be used to measure your overall fitness level and provide you with yet another layer of insight into the efficacy of your workout. What does a pulse oximeter really do, though, and why would should you invest in one? While the measures taken by this device may not be essential for everyone, the information can be particularly beneficial in certain situations. Keep reading to determine if a pulse oximeter is right for you.

What Is a Pulse Oximeter?

Typically used medically by individuals with asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory concerns, a pulse oximeter is a unique device intended for the measurement of oxygen saturation in the blood and the pulse rate. These tools are noninvasive options and are typically used widely in settings such as hospitals, medical clinics, operating rooms, and even homes.

Oximeters are typically inexpensive and can provide an accurate reading in a matter of seconds. Obviously in many cases, speed is an extremely important factor. It is particularly important that individuals with respiratory concerns have their blood oxygen levels checked regularly but especially if they are not feeling well.

How Does the Device Work?

Pulse oximeters are small electronic devices. Most units simply clip on the tip of your index finger. The device calculates the difference between the wavelengths of an invisible infrared light and a visible red light to determine the oxygen content in your blood.

The measurement taken by the device measures oxygen saturation, given as an exact percentage of the amount of hemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen at the time of the reading. Most healthy adults have an oxygen level of 97 to 99 percent. However, a reading that is over 92 percent is typically considered to be in the normal or safe range.

What Benefits Does a Pulse Oximeter Offer?

So, the benefits of a pulse oximeter in a medical setting are pretty obvious. But does this device really have a place in the gym? The short answer is yes. A pulse oximeter can reveal important information for athletes and amateurs alike when used during gym workouts as well as regular exercise.

As the primary function of this devise is to monitor oxygen levels in the body, athletes may choose to utilize this as a tool during strenuous workouts. Endurance, speed, and efficiency are all important goals to any athlete, and maintaining an effective oxygen range can drastically improve one’s overall performance and help develop these components. Using a pulse oximeter to monitor your oxygen levels while working out can help you make adjustments so that you are getting more equalized oxygen flow throughout your workout session.

Likewise, if you frequently participate in vigorous exercise at high altitudes, you may want to make sure that you have an oximeter in your toolkit. Wearing this device while participating in activities such as hiking or climbing at high altitudes will help you avoid hypoxia.

Additionally, individuals affected by respiratory illnesses, including asthma and emphysema, may specifically benefit from this tool. Care providers often suggest exercise to improve patients’ physical stamina and overall fitness. However, this exercise can often increase shortness of breath. Wearing an oximeter will help you avoid an alarming respiratory attack.

If you get a low oxygen level reading while exercise, you can effectively employ one of a few different strategies to improve your levels. Proper breathing, such as pursed lip breathing, works to increase your oxygen saturation level. Good breathing techniques have actually been found to improve patents’ overall saturation level by as much as 93 percent.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pulse Oximeter

Like most electronic devices, not all oximeters are created equal. So it’s important to consider a few key factors when choosing and using your device.

Keep in mind that if your hands sweat excessively while you exercise, the pulse oximeter may have a tendency to slide off of your finger. Additionally, if you have particularly small or large fingers, the device may not stay secure on your fingers. In this case, adhering the device to your finger with a small amount of medical tape will help keep it secure.

Reliability is another important factor to consider when choosing a device. A device that can wirelessly collect and store your information will help you avoid any miscalculations or disruptions in tracking.

A lightweight, easy-to-use device is obviously another important factor you’ll want to consider. If it is too bulky or clumsy, you won’t be very likely to wear or use it.

Being able to effectively view and analyze your results will also make your new tool more usable. An option that immediately provides you with results will give you the most real-time information. Parallel tracking with an easy-to-use health monitoring app is another great benefit that some new devices also offer.

While there are numerous pulse oximeters on the market, the iHealth Air Wireless Pulse Oximeter is one of the newest options available – that meets all of these requirements and more! This device really is an all-in-one fitness solution that is backed by the well-known iHealth name. When it comes to monitoring your health, don’t go with just any device out there. Rely on one that you can trust that will do exactly what you expect it to, like the iHealth Air.