Individuals with health conditions can lose weight with appropriate physical activity and nutritional intake, similar to those who are healthy. Unfortunately, those dealing with medical problems will have to find ways to exercise that do not exacerbate their existing condition or cause an increased risk for injury. Therefore, first and foremost, it is imperative that your grandmother gets specific exercise guidelines and limitations from her healthcare providers. She should find out if she can do weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, or if she must stick with non-impact modes of training like recumbent cycling or water exercise. You mentioned that she has recently had surgery, so she should also find out if certain activities or movements will harm the surgery site and then avoid all such activities.
Once you have a set of guidelines and limitations from the physician, your grandmother can begin light exercise for just a few minutes at a time (e.g., five minutes). It is likely that she is deconditioned due to her illness as well as the surgery. She should use a method of monitoring exercise intensity called perceived exertion, which takes into account her subjective feelings about hard she is working. Traditionally, perceived exertion scales are compared to overall feelings of intensity, but since your grandmother is on oxygen she might prefer to use a modified perceived exertion scale base on the difficulty of breathing (dyspnea) during exercise (See Table below). Initially, she should be encouraged to work at a 2 out of 10 on the perceived exertion dyspnea scale, which corresponds to “slight breathlessness.”
Over several successive weeks she can gradually increase the duration of her cardio sessions, even by just one minute per session, per week. A conservative, slow approach to exercise will be the safest and most effective way to introduce cardiorespiratory training to you grandmother.
Modified Borg Dyspena Scale-
0- No breathlessness at all
0.5- Very, veru slight (just noticeable)
1- Very slight
2- Slight breathlessness
4- Somewhat severe
5- Severe breathlessness
7- Very severe breathlessness
9- Very, very severe (almost maximal)