ChiWalking and ChiWalk-Running through the Ages
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 ChiWalking tehcnique and Chi Walk-Run.
Before I say a few things about ChiWalking 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 ChiWalking 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. ChiWalking, ChiRunning, 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”, ChiWalking 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. ChiWalking 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 ChiWalking and Chi Walk-Run and give them a try. They sure are working for me!
Posted in Technique