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March Madness: Brackets for Health?


In case you live under a rock, here’s a friendly heads up that it’s “game on” for hoops fans. Yep, better start filling in your bracket and coughing up a buck or two for the office pool.

Time to start cheering for your alma mater or the wee little underdog.

It’s fun getting in the competitive spirit, with a flashback to college glory days as the camera zooms in on the student section, a frenzy of body paint and snarky cheers. But all that sitting around watching games and making laps to the fridge and back can take a toll. Team Roper St. Francis Healthcare offers a few suggestions for a healthier spin on March Madness:

Be an Active Fan
The average basketball player runs about three miles per game. Why should they have all the fun (and sweat)? Most of us can handle a few jumping jacks or sit ups, even in our street clothes. Here’s the game plan:

  • Each time your team scores a 3-pointer, hop up for three jacks.
  • And each time the opponent makes a foul shot, hit the floor for 5 sit ups.
  • Every slam dunk = a push up. (You can do it!)
  • During half time, go for a brisk walk around the block, or maybe do some gentle stretches.
  • Keep a “bracket” tally of the number of jacks, sit-ups and loops around the block you’re racking up. Even if your team loses, you win!

Be a Savvy Snacker
Sure, we want to munch and sip while watching the players hustle, jump and burn a gazillion calories. Go for it! That’s part of the madness, and fun. But making smart choices can save you extra pounds. Then, if your team makes an early exit, you’re only down a few bucks and bragging rights, and not feeling the weight of loss, sad as it is.

  • Enjoy a few pretzels and chips, but also pick up some baby carrots and snow peas for satisfying crunch and sweetness.
  • Keep calorie-heavy dips to a minimum. Plus, you won’t have to worry about drips on the couch.
  • Curtail snacks to the first half of the game. Studies have shown that the more anxious you are while watching something, the more you eat.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. (This, of course, is a winning strategy for any game, any time.)

Go for the Rebound
Watching all those supersonic athletes lope down the court and leap up to the hoop may inspire you to channel your inner Michael Jordan, but what if you’re a little, shall we say, rusty? If your hampered ham strings or achy shoulders are keeping you from dominating the court, give our Roper St. Francis Healthcare sports medicine team a call. With a deep bench of experienced orthopedists and certified trainers, and locations throughout the region, Roper St. Francis Healthcare sports medicine specialists will get you up to speed and at the top of your bracket in no time. Visit or call 402-CARE for a sports medicine referral.

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