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March 2007 Archives

Misery loves company — sometimes

There's no better way to get in your exercise than doing it with a bunch of other people. Right? You're all in it together. You stay motivated as you at least try to keep up with the person next to you.

Well, it ain't necessarily so. Especially if you look around and you notice that gravity hasn't done its dirty work on anybody else's body. Or that your head carries the only gray hairs in the room.

You might want to exercise, but you probably won't be back to that class.

A new study backs that up. University of British Columbia researcher Mark Beauchamp has found that the older you get the more likely you are to prefer to exercise alone — with some instruction — than in a room of Spandex-clad twentysomething hard bodies.

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Heating up, burning out

Save for a final blast of winter cruelty, spring should be settling in for good across most of the country any time now. And that means goodbye treadmill until next winter.

It also brings that double-edged sword of rising temperatures. Those of us who use the words "only" and "10K" in the same sentence — back-to-back and in that order — like it when the weather warms up, but there is a limit.

The hotter it gets, the harder it is to perform. Throw in high humidity and you're bagged before you get out the door.

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Bad knees bearers

Knees holding up? Ankles OK?

I get asked those questions a lot, especially by people who don't exercise much or those who'd love to run, but can't because their knees and surgeons' scalpels have been far too intimate.

Maybe I'm just lucky. After 13 marathons and better than 15,000 kilometres of running on trails, bike paths, sidewalks and streets over the past five years, my knees are just fine — despite a hairline knee fracture suffered in high school when a sunken sewer kept me from catching a football.

Maybe it's genetics. My family tree is planted firmly in the steep, rocky terrain of a Greek island where weak knees meant you couldn't tend the flocks or scratch out a living from the soil.

Or maybe it's because I'm a guy.

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