The War Amps

Weight Control

Maintaining a healthy body weight is a concern for everyone, and one that is doubly important for amputees. Eating right and exercising regularly are good habits that will benefit you for a lifetime.

Why Should I Keep Fit?

  • A change of just five pounds, or even less, may mean your artificial limb is uncomfortable.

  • If you gain or lose too much weight, even just 10 pounds, you may be unable to wear your artificial limb at all and need a new socket.

  • Amputees expend more energy in daily activities - so it is important to be in good shape to keep up with your daily activities.

  • Exercise not only helps maintain body weight but reduces stress.

How Do I Know If I Am at a Healthy Weight?

  • Check with your doctor to make sure you are within the recommended weight range for your age and height.

  • We all have different body types - maintaining a healthy body weight does not necessarily mean being thin.

  • The usual height to weight ratio may not apply, as an artificial limb usually weighs less than a human one. A few pounds may need to be added to the scale to get the right figure.

  • It is possible to estimate what your ideal body weight as an amputee should be by multiplying the appropriate percentage of total body weight represented by your amputations by the ideal weight for a non-amputee person of your height and body type, then subtracting the result from the ideal weight.

Example for a 5' 4" female arm amputee with a medium frame:

Suggested ideal weight 124-138 pounds
Subtract 6.5% representing missing arm
An ideal actual weight of 116-129 for this amputee

How Do I Keep Fit & Stay Healthy?

  • Eat regularly and do not miss meals. Breakfast is especially important as it increases your body's metabolism which slows down overnight.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of half an hour each time (or work up to this level if you have not exercised recently).

  • Walking briskly (but not to the point where you are out of breath) is a simple, effective form of exercise.

  • If it is recommended you lose weight, ask your doctor or dietician to provide you with an overall weight loss program.

  • Professional trainers can help you develop a unique exercise program and trainers who have had experience in working with disabled individuals can adapt a program in consideration of your amputation(s).