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BOOSTER SHOTS

Preserve the Moment

January 19, 1998|MARTIN MILLER

Save for the resulting pitter-patter of little feet, some folks might just forget all about their pregnancy. Now you can preserve your most beautiful expectant shape forever with something called the belly mask. Basically, it's a pa^pier-mache mold of your naked torso. A company called In Honor of Pregnant Women sells a complete kit for $65. (Visit their Web site at http://www.farout.com/bellymsk.)But be warned: Like getting pregnant, you need a "helper" to make the mask.

Hoop Time

It's basketball season, and that means one thing: You're probably headed for the injured-reserve list. One of the most physically traumatic American games for weekend enthusiasts, hoops accounts for 653,000 injuries annually, according to Men's Health magazine. It recommends that weekend players take this sound advice: stretch, stretch, stretch; shoot around before playing; wrap ankles, knees and whatever else needs it; and make wide turns, not sharp cuts.

Another thing that may help is playing people much shorter than you.

Back Off

Do you feel as if you're carrying too heavy a load? Well, if your load is more than 6% of your body weight, you might be.

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama studied 421 college students who used backpacks and found that when they toted more than 6%, they ran a much higher risk of shoulder and back pain.

Researchers recommend using double straps on backpacks and not overloading the packs. In fact, the best advice may be to have someone else carry your heavy load.

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