If you have an artificial knee, maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of taking care of it. When you walk, your knees endure a force equivalent to about three to six times your body weight, reports John Hopkins Arthritis Center. Each extra pound of body weight adds about 3 to 6 pounds of pressure to your knees.

The more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your artificial knee. This can cause your artificial joint to prematurely deteriorate. Plus, excess weight also increases your risk of needing a replacement for your other knee. This is especially the case if your other knee already shows signs of osteoarthritis.

Keep reading to learn more.

Gaining weight after surgery is common, especially when your overall activity is limited in the first few months of recovery. A study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found that 66 percent of patients experienced weight gain in the two years following knee replacement surgery. The average weight gain was 14 pounds. You should be proactive about your weight and take steps to keep your weight under control.

Regular exercise is essential for effectively managing your weight. It’s critical to get moving and engage in low-impact activities, such as:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • golfing
  • cross-country skiing

You could also bicycle on flat terrain, use a stationary bike, or play a sport, such as tennis. Aside from the calorie-burning benefits of exercise, getting outside and being active can help elevate your mood. It can also help reduce stress, which is frequently associated with overeating.

Exercise is only one part of an effective strategy to maintain a healthy weight. Low-impact activities, such as walking or golf, burn only a few hundred calories per hour at most. A bagel with cream cheese or a piece of cake far exceeds the calories you’re likely to burn through exercise in a given day. That’s why it’s so important to eat healthy too, by paying attention to both the quality and quantity of the food you consume.

A healthy diet is critical to managing your weight and keeping extra pounds off. Depending on your habits, you may need to make significant lifestyle and dietary changes. For example, skipping snacks late at night or eliminating soda from your diet could potentially lead to dramatic results.

Analyze your eating habits to understand how they contribute to or undermine your weight management goals. Fad diets often fail because they do little to change long-term eating habits. It’s better to adopt sustainable, healthy habits that you can follow in the long run. Speak with a nutritionist if you need help developing new habits that will work for you.

Follow these tips for healthy eating:

  • Include ample portions of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. These foods are high in fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
  • Avoid eating too much meat and choose lean varieties, cuts, and cooking methods.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products.
  • Reduce your consumption of desserts, refined sugar, and saturated fats.
  • Avoid fast food and highly processed foods.
  • Manage your portion sizes.
  • Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration can aid in digestion and help reduce your appetite.

An average glass of red wine has about 125 to 150 calories. A beer typically has between 150 and 200 calories. Some mixed drinks contain 200 to 300 calories or more. Drinking two or three alcoholic drinks per day will greatly increase your calorie intake. At a maximum, stick to one or two alcoholic drinks per day, and factor them into your total calorie intake. You’ll have to walk 30 to 45 minutes to burn the calories from a single glass of wine.

It can take weeks, months, or even years to lose all the weight you want to shed. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Natural fluctuations can occur from one day to another, which may discourage you. Instead, check the scale once per week and try to stay patient and focused. You’ll lose weight over time with a consistent and conscientious effort.

Up to 69 percent of knee replacements in middle-aged women in the United Kingdom may be attributable to obesity, estimates researchers in the journal Rheumatology. Keeping your weight down will help you get the most out of your existing device. It will also lower your chances of needing revisions to your artificial knee or a replacement for your other knee. As you strive to exercise more and avoid excess calories, focus on the benefits that a healthier lifestyle and sustainable weight loss can provide.