Monday, March 17, 2003

Fit Bits


Ways to stay active and healthy

Study

Twitch: More than half the golfers plagued by the "yips" report symptoms that suggest a physical - not psychological - cause, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

"Yips" consist of a tremor, freezing or involuntary jerking of the hands when attempting a golf shot, especially short putts.

The Mayo Clinic study was the first to ask golfers to describe their experience.

Fifty-five percent of respondents put their symptoms in physical terms; 22 percent used psychological terms, such as nervousness or a tight feeling in the body.

Findings suggest that the "yips" can be attributed to two causes, says lead author Aynsley Smith: performance anxiety, or "choking," and focal dystonia - a cramp, spasm or other involuntary movement attributed to neurological "misfirings."

Tips

Worn: Most running-related injuries are caused by overuse, say the experts at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Knees are most often affected, followed by feet, ankles, lower legs and shins, upper legs, the back and the hips.

Their advice:

• Make time to warm up properly and to stretch before and after running.

• Choose a shoe that offers good shock absorption and construction, cushions the foot and provides stability.

• Run on a smooth, resilient, even and reasonably soft surface. Avoid hills. On curved surfaces, change directions to keep pressure even on both feet.

• Avoid running in extreme conditions, and run in familiar areas.

• Start slowly. Build up time and distance gradually.

• Wear reflective materials if you run before dawn or after dark.

• Avoid dehydration: Drink fluids every 20 to 30 minutes while running.

• If you've suffered a previous injury, talk to your doctor before starting a running program.

Planner

Register: Registration is open for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, May 17 and 18.

Cost to register for walkers and volunteers is $55. Walkers must pledge to raise at least $1,750.

Walkers will complete either a 13.1 or 26.2-mile route the first day, spend the night in the Wellness Village, and complete the walk the next day. The national campaign benefits the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation. Cincinnati is one of eight cities participating in this year's campaign.

To learn more, call 984-0229 or log on to Web site.

Nutrition

Eat: Vegetarian and vegan diets sometimes skimp on protein and iron or have too much fat.

The March Mayo Clinic Health Letter suggests:

Protein: Lentils, beans, soy, nuts, butters and whole-grain breads and cereals.

Iron: Beans, peas, whole-grain breads, spinach, raisins, apricots, peaches, nuts and seeds work.

Fat: Avoid french fries, ice cream, whole milk, cheese and lots of nuts.

Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail, pofarrell@enquirer.com




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