Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Hoop Help

Q: I am 16 years old, 5'5", and 116 pounds. Fitness is a vital part of my daily routine. Basketball is the one sport that I love. I play on my high school varsity team, have two more seasons left, and hope to play in college.

I want to start now to get in the best shape possible. During the summer, I run two miles in the morning, but I'm really lost from there on. Right now I am lifting weights three times a week, but I find it hard to lift as much weight as my teammates do.

I usually lift equally with the arms, but my legs aren't very strong. I can only leg-curl 50 pounds to their 70 pounds. Can you give me some advice on how I can stay healthy and get in the best possible shape? And maybe some information about a good diet for athletes?


A: It sounds like you are on the right track. Be careful not to get into a weight-lifting contest where you might hurt yourself. It is as important to recognize when you are doing too much as too little.

As a sophomore competing against juniors and seniors who may be taller, you are likely to be weaker in certain areas. That you are as strong in the upper body as they are is a very positive sign. Leg strength will develop over time.

Weight lifting is fine, but make sure you also get plenty of aerobic exercise as well, such as running, bicycling, and swimming. It is important to condition the cardiovascular system for both endurance and speed, in addition to developing muscular strength. Running and bicycling will also develop leg strength.

Basketball players need speed as well as strength. I think you could increase your summer running program, slowly extending your run to four to six miles to build endurance, and incorporate lots of sprinting (fartlek training) during the run to speed train.

On your own time, practice dribbling, shooting, passing, and jumping skills. Doing the same exercise - pounding on a gym floor over and over again - can lead to overuse injuries. Researchers have found fewer injuries and greater accomplishment in athletes who cross-train or vary their exercise so they aren't constantly using the same muscle groups.

You might take this into consideration, and spend more time biking and swimming. Taking up additional sports like soccer, baseball, or track could help you develop coordination and conditioning on a year-round basis.

Read about nutrition in this chapter of Campus Health Guide for information about a good diet. Good luck!

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

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