Clean Energy for Running and Walking
The subject of clean energy is an important one today. There are many good reasons to reduce our over-reliance on carbon based fuels, become more efficient in how we use energy, and use clean fuels that don’t create as much waste and environmental damage.
The same is true for the way we take care of our own bodies, which can be viewed as a microcosm of the world around us. In ChiRunning and ChiWalking we help you set up the conditions so that: 1. you are more energy-efficient, 2. you are using clean energy sources that don’t cause waste, and 3. you’re not setting yourself up for injury.
In our many discussions about energy efficiency and clean sources of energy, it was difficult to narrow down the topic. We could (and may) write a series of articles about clean energy that could include: how your thinking can be either a toxic fuel or a source of energy and inspiration, clean energy from a clean diet, the relative energies of chi and sunlight, and so many more. The subject is as vast as it is important.
It’s worthwhile to stop and ask yourself, "What is my energy source?" Is it coffee, sugar and white flour? Or, is it clean, slow-burning carbohydrates? Is it a desire to win, or a desire to learn? Are you using force or finesse? Are you wasting energy, or making the most of the time and energy you have? When you ask yourself these questions it helps you make wise choices in your life.
As you become more efficient with your running and walking you will reduce your reliance on inappropriate muscle usage. Three negative things that can happen when you overuse your muscles are: 1. wasting fuel, 2. producing excess amounts of lactic acid and 3. running the risk of overuse injuries such as tendonitis, muscles tears and strains. Examples of inappropriate muscle usage include: using your hamstrings to pull yourself forward, using your calves to push yourself off the ground, and absorbing shock with your quads. Running with tight glutes, tight shoulders, or a tight pelvis can increase the workload to other muscles. Whenever you are using muscles that should not be used, or are overusing them, you are misusing energy and wasting fuel.
Every aspect of ChiRunning and ChiWalking is about creating energy efficiency and preventing injury. The first thing we do is set up the conditions for energy to flow easily through the body by creating good posture. Good posture also allows the body to take advantage of gravity for propulsion, and therefore needs less energy. Engaging your core muscles helps keep your posture in line, which then allows many other muscles to relax. Using gravity for propulsion significantly reduces muscle usage throughout your body.
Just as there is coal and there is solar energy, which we might look at as different densities of fuel, (coal being a high density, high waste fuel and solar energy being a low density and low waste fuel) there are high and low density fuels available for use by the human body. Muscles require high density fuels in the form of carbohydrates and fats. By far the cleanest and cheapest source of energy for running the human body is chi. Master Xu uses his mind to direct his chi to move his body. Now that is clean burning fuel, because chi energy does not burn, it just moves, leaving no waste behind. Movement that is aligned and relaxed actually increases the amount and flow of chi in your body. Moving chi through your body nourishes all the muscles, organs and soft tissue of the body leaving you energized and feeling a sense of ease and flow instead of soreness and recovery.