THE ATHLETE'S BODY by Ken with Joe Jares Sprague


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Spoon-fed, pleasant-tasting sports-medicine for the masses that neatly covers its subject. Sprague and Jares have a well-conceived format, starting with how the body works: they look at the ""motion system"" (bones and muscles), the cooling system (what to wear, what to drink), the energy system (blood, oxygen, adrenaline), and the nervous system. ""How To Improve It"" covers training--the five areas of possible improvement: strength, muscle endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and reaction time and quickness (a sixth area, technique, is particular to each sport or activity). ""How To Feed It"" discusses energy requirements and how they balance with intake of basic nutrients; here, Sprague and Jares devote special attention to the hazards and benefits of different ""athletes' diets"" (the latest definitive word on the pregame meal is that it should be primarily carbohydrate, and eaten four hours before competition if it's solid, two hours if it's liquid). Finally, we have ""How To Repair and Protect It"": both injury prevention, and what to do if injury occurs. The book also covers the effects of drugs and alcohol on athletic ability; and skin ailments (most notably, the Gunk, a weeping rash, possibly caused by microscopic fiberglass particles from hockey sticks, that afflicts about ten percent of all N.H.L. players). The helpful hints are nicely interspersed with such trivia as why golf balls need dimples and how Mohammed Ali drops his weight. A useful, entertaining item.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1981
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by Houghton Mifflin