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Hiking vs. Running


We all know how vulnerable our joints are, either because we have had occasional pain or because we have let that pain turn into something chronic. Joint pain is typical for people who are devoted to exercise. Even though, generally speaking, younger people complain less about joint pain this does not mean that young age can spare one the pain that stems from aggravated knees, hips or shoulders. Here is a very interesting article that focuses on the vulnerability of knees.

When Good Knees Go Bad


I have always wanted to be a runner but I am not. When I begin a training routine that I hope will turn me into a powerful runner, I have to stop after five or six attempts. My knees cannot take more than five days of training.  To compensate for my weakness and achieve a similar level of cardiovascular exercise, I have turned to hiking. I hike on the treadmill and it feels great. I usually raise the incline to the maximum (at my gym’s treadmills that’s 15%) and after I raise my heartbeat to 90% of capacity, I go down one percent at a time. This is a great exercise and it does not hurt my joints. It is also perfect for those who prefer interval training.


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:


Diets and Emotions

A Frenchman who lives in New York City with his family, Olivier joined our board to offer his legal expertise. In the meantime, he has expanded to other areas, including searching the French headlines for interesting pieces on exercise and fitness. A couple of weeks ago he sent me an article published in the French daily Le Monde on Dr. Pierre Dukan’s diet. A primarily protein-based diet, the Dukan nutrition plan differs significantly from Dr. Atkins’s, which includes too much fat. On the contrary, Dr. Dukan’s method seems to develop around the concept of four phases, the combination of which is a structured but simple long-term, real-food regime that ensures one’s metabolism works flawlessly.

I am not interested in diets. I am not trained to understand whether they are good or bad for one’s health. But the Dukan diet’s popularity in France piqued my curiosity and I decided to read about it. I discovered one fascinating fact. Dr. Dukan dismisses calorie counting, mainly because it sets “quotas, doses, and portions but it forgets that the people having to follow it are flesh and blood, made up of emotions and instincts.” (Louise Atkinson, “The Ultimate Diet: The French have kept it a secret for years. Now the protein rich Dukan Diet is coming to Britain,” The Mail Online, April 19, 2010)

Emotions and instincts are our motivators for mostly everything we do in life. While dieting usually makes us feel “bad” when we cheat (and therefore stirs up feelings of worthlessness) exercise makes us feel “good” (and worthy) because we are able to achieve something, to reach a goal. In fact, thinking back at my numerous short trips to the gym when my schedule gets way too heavy for me to handle long workouts, I remember stepping down from the treadmill and feeling sad because I have to go. This comes as a surprise every time considering that I, like everyone else, develop my enthusiasm for exercise while I am at it and not beforehand—but I do have my rare moments of pure athleticism when I simply cannot wait to leave the office and go to the gym. Other times, I recognize the feeling of slight annoyance when I must set my dumbbells down and leave the floor just when I could try a new routine. When I exercise the only quota I set are those of time. Time is the only constraint that is measurable. I never measure how many calories I burn to compensate for my eating. But I always measure how many loops I can climb in 30 minutes at a certain incline, and how many new exercises I can learn when I weight train. This is what I retain from Dr. Dukan’s regime: don’t count calories, allow yourself to feel the need to eat and experience your emotions. If you have not allowed yourself the pleasure of a challenge during physical exercise you are depriving yourself of a broad range of emotions, all positive, all inspiring, and all propelling you forward to an ever fearless version of yourself. As for Olivier, he is a fearless cyclist.

Post by Thomai Serdari. (We welcome guest posts. Email us at: