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Pogo stick is hopping good for the knees.

Jane Doe, up-and-coming financial whiz, wanted sculpted body parts and the cardiovascular stamina to withstand 12-hour days of vigorous corporate raiding. Her aerobics instructor exhorted her to "feel the burn," but she also felt the snap, crackle, and pop of overstressed cartilage during one workout.

Research by Joseph M. Ponte, a graduate student in kinesiology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, indicates that pogo-stick jumping may offer Jane a low-impact alternative path to fitness as well as an effective physical therapy during recovery from her recent arthroscopic surgery.

Ponte, who defines his field as the science of human movement, videotaped people jumping with either a rope or a pogo stick on top of a force-measuring device. He then digitized the images and used a computer to identify the forces and torques acting on the body at given points. Preliminary results show that hopping on a pogo stick causes the rapid leg-muscle contraction needed to build tone but is much easier on the knees than jumping rope or jogging.

Ponte says two previous studies of the pogo stick's effectiveness as a physical-therapy device found it roughly equivalent to machines costing tens of thousands of dollars. To date, a number of orthopedic clinics and athletic teams have acquired stationary pogo-stick machines. Ponte believes he is the first to measure the physical impact of pogo-stick jumping.
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Title Annotation:low-impact benefits may come from pogo-stick jumping after arthroscopic surgery
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 21, 1992
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