ChiWalking and ChiWalk-Running through the Ages

Posted by Keith McConnell on Sat Feb 11th, 2012, 2 comments

How often have you heard phrases like: I’m too old to run - I’m too old to walk - I’m getting older and it’s just too hard to exercise? Aging can be a challenge – and an excuse – when it comes to doing what it takes to keep moving and to stay fit. Just when it’s most important to be active, many older people tend to reduce their activity level. Couch potatoes, or worse.

Lifelong health and fitness requires personal acceptance of different phrases, like: use it or lose it – just keep moving – or, you’re only as old as you act.

Lifelong, pain-free fitness is a realistic goal, as long as you keep moving while you age. In this blog, I’d like to explore a couple of very doable approaches to physical activity that will certainly enhance one’s health and fitness and can be done at all ages: the Chi Walking tehcnique and Chi Walk-Run.

Before I say a few things about Chi Walking and Chi Walk-Run, I’d like to mention an interesting AARP pamphlet I read recently which was extolling the health benefits of walking including a clever 1913 quotation by George Trevelyan: “I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg” - in other words “get up and walk” (and maybe you won’t even need a doctor!). I was also interested to see reference to a new National Institute on Aging “get off your duff” campaign called “Go4Life”. Clearly, these days there is more and more attention and interest in keeping older adults healthy, active and fit – and repeatedly, walking is seen as the best way to do so.

So, how do Chi Walking and Chi Walk-Run fit in the lifelong health and fitness equation? In my view, they are absolutely center stage and invaluable in terms of what these pioneering approaches can offer to help create a healthy and fit aging process. As we know, running, and even walking, can lead to injuries and can become difficult to do, especially for older adults. Chi Walking, Chi Running, and the new, integrated form called Chi Walk-Run move walking and running to new levels of effortless and injury-free movement. They share key ingredients derived from T'ai Chi having to do with alignment with nature, core strength and energy efficiency, all of which lead to an easier and lighter form of movement.

As one enters “older age”, Chi Walking and Chi Walk-Run may become the recreational and fitness workout activities of choice. The former may be the primary approach to aerobic and cardio fitness with its steady, one-foot-on-the-ground approach but the latter can offer variety and the intermittent increased intensity that comes with running even if the running is not much faster than the walking. As outlined in Danny Dreyer’s recent article about health, fitness and the heart, aerobic activity is the first priority in one’s fitness workouts with periodic cardio activity an important complement to it. Chi Walking and Chi Walk-Run offer opportunities for both aerobic and cardio exercise.

My personal experience as I have walked and run through 6+ decades of “the ages” leaves me committed to and optimistic about continuing to do so for the rest of my life. Over the past eight years as I have become a Chi Runner, Chi Walker and now a Chi Walk-Runner, I am even more convinced that I can meet my personal goal of lifelong, pain-free health and fitness. I intend to keep moving and do so with nature (gravity), ease and injury-free as I continue to move through the ages. Check out Chi Walking and Chi Walk-Run and give them a try. They sure are working for me!

 


 

Tags

  • fitness training,
  • fitness walking,
  • Walk-Run

2 CommentsLeave a comment below

Dorsey Greene Feb 23rd, 2012 06:38pm

I started running with my Dad when he would get ready for his annual Army PT Test. I was about 7 to 9 years old. I continued running at school, I soon became enthralled with running. I ran everywhere. By the time I was in Jr. High School I was used to running so I went out for Track & Field. I was short so I did not run the sprint races but I did Cross Country and finally settled on the Mile in high School. I never had a Coach that took any interest in training me. I ran a few meets but without coaching I never did accomplish much… I read Running Magazines and picked up pointers. At 17 I joined the Army. In Basic Training, I received permission to run up what was Tank Hill at Ft. Jackson South Carolina. Every night, and I did. At 18 I was in Vietnam and I ran 6 miles almost every evening at our Compound at Phu Bai RVN. Upon my return from Vietnam I went to BYU and Ricks College now BYU Idaho, where I ran on one of their tracks in the evenings, I tried running backwards and could run that way as fast or faster than I could frontwards. I made running an enjoyable event by running twice as far by going backwards as much as I ran forwards. I continued my running through College but did not compete. I also completed my Army Career of 29 years as I continued to run. I even Qualified as a “Green Beret” Special Operations Engineer Sergeant, Even though I was older than most of the other “Green Berets”. 34, when I graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course, I admit the Ruck Sacks were hard on my small frame but I endured. My running prepared me for the rigorous training and long miles of Navigation. I was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, Ft. Devans MA. I Re-Enlisted to join the 1st Special Forces Group Okinawa, Japan. My running made me young. I did a lot of Martial Arts training and weight lifting but stayed small because I ran such long distances. I even ran a Marathon or two, with impressive times. I unfortunately was diagnosed with a fairly rare disease, Sarcoidosis and DJD. they have made it hard to walk much less run. My feet feel like there is a big rock in my shoes at the balls of my feet. I have other problems with the diseases, but I still have the running bug even though I have not been allowed to run, Doctors Orders. I have walked and I’m motivated by the prospect of Chi walking/running I believe in Tai Chi which I have done some of, with great results in pain relief. Also Physical Therapy and Yoga have helped my Lower Back problems caused by heavy Ruck Sacks, Rigorous Training, Airborne and Combat. I will update on my Chi Walking success and if I run again. With Everyone’s Prayers I will be successful with this program. Thank You for the inspiration.

Keith McConnell - blog author Feb 24th, 2012 03:35pm

Hi Dorsey - thank you for sharing your intriguing story. Quite the personal history of running and life in general. I do hope Chi Walking and/or Chi Walk-run will be of value as you “move” through the years. I know you can do it!!

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A Chi Running Love Letter

I wanted to take a minute to thank Danny and everyone involved at Chi Running. On January 1st 2010 I limped off the Buckeye Trail in NE Ohio with another pulled calf muscle, I have to admit I was done running. 

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