Monday, May 12, 2003

Fit Bits

Ways to stay active and healthy

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer


For women: Women who participate in jumping and pivoting sports, such as basketball, volleyball and soccer, are up to eight times more likely to rupture the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) than same-size men who participate in the same sports, a new study says.

The ACL criss-crosses the front of the knee and stabilizes the joint. Athletes can injure the ligament by turning or changing direction rapidly.

Researchers at the University of Michigan tested the theory that men's greater muscle strength and muscle stiffness made them less prone to injury. The study compared 24 athletes (12 men and 12 women) participating in sports with a high risk for causing ACL injury with 28 athletes (14 men and 14 women) in low-risk sports.

The study found that men can better stiffen knee muscles than women, though it didn't identify why that occurs.

The results suggest new training programs for women athletes should be developed to reduce injury.

The study is in the May issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Hot news

Hard knocks: Repeated sports-related concussions are linked to clinical depression, according to new research from the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes.

A survey of 2,488 retired pro football players ages 24 to 95 found that 61 percent had sustained at least one concussion during their career, 24 percent sustained at least three and 12 percent sustained five or more.

Eleven percent of the former players who suffered concussions had been diagnosed with clinical depression. An estimated 87 percent of those players still suffer symptoms, and 46 percent are receiving medication. Of those diagnosed with depression, 64 percent reported the disease limits their daily activities.

Retired players who had sustained more than five concussions were three times as likely to develop depression. Those who had suffered three or four concussions were twice as likely to become depressed.


On schedule: Try these 'round-the-clock ideas for better health from the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition ( :

• 7 a.m.: Choose a lower-fat spread for your morning bagel.

• 9 a.m.: Park farther away from the office.

• 11 a.m.: Walk down the hall instead of sending an e-mail.

• Noon: Eat three fewer bites of your lunch.

• 2 p.m.: Walk around the building.

• 4 p.m.: Drink plenty of water.

• 6 p.m. Walk the dog.

• 7 p.m.: Have a diet soda instead of the full-calorie version.

• 8 p.m.: Put the remote away.

• 10 p.m.: Get a good night's sleep.

Shelf help

New release: The 2003 Body Almanac (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; $19.95) by Susan Crites, et al, offers a guide to keeping bones and joints healthy.

Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone: 768-8510; fax, 768-8330; e-mail:

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