FAQ - Chi Walking

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about ChiWalking? You've come to the right place. This page will answer any questions you might have and if you still have questions, feel free to email us or visit our Forum. We're happy to answer any questions.

What is “Chi”?

Chi (pronounced chee as in cheetah) is the Chinese term for “that which animates all life.” It is also called “life force energy.” The Chi Running and Chi Walking techniques have blended movement principles from the ancient martial art, T’ai Chi, with the active sports of running and walking. This blend creates a more mindful, centered and balanced approach to fitness. Please read our article "What is Chi?” for more information.

Will my Chi Running practice help me with other sports?

Yes, there is crossover into other sports, certainly for running and likely for other sports/activities. Chi Running is all about moving from your core muscles: just as Pilates and Yoga teach, powerful movement comes from your center. Movement that comes from the core, your center, is more balanced and has greater strength behind it. Anytime you can pair strength and relaxation, you’ll become a better athlete.

Is Chi Running truly effortless and if so, will I get any exercise?

With the Chi Running technique, you are working towards effortless running. As your form improves, you’ll be able to run with less and less effort, but still get a great workout. The movement of Chi Running keeps your peripheral muscles supple and relaxed and your core muscles strong while improving your cardiovascular and aerobic conditioning. You’ll still reap all the physical benefits of running, but do it in a more mindful, efficient way to improve enjoyment and prevent injury.

Can Chi Running help with my knee problems?

Yes! Chi Running helps to eliminate knee problems by eliminating the reason for why they come up in the first place. By teaching you how to prevent over-striding, heel-striking and dorsiflexing, Chi Running puts the issue to rest permanently.

I have a bad back and haven’t run in a long time. Will Chi Running hurt my back? Will it help?

The foundation of Chi Running is good posture and proper biomechanics, both of which will help many back problems. You should always check with a health practitioner before starting an exercise program but you’ll be glad to know that many people who have stopped running due to back problems have found that Chi Running actually helps their back. This technique strengthens your abdominals, which will relieve contracted lower back muscles.

I am 50 lbs overweight. Is Chi Running a good idea for me?

It depends on your conditioning. For someone just starting an exercise program, it is best to start with Chi Walking, making sure to create a safe and solid foundation to your exercise program. If you are exercising regularly you can use the Chi Running technique to as an excellent form of exercise. We highly recommend pairing your exercise program with proper nutrition and lifestyle choices to lose weight and get healthy in a sustainable manner.

Can Chi Running help with my shin splints?

Yes! Shin splints are generally caused by overuse or inappropriate use of the tibialis anterior muscle. This technique keeps you off your heels and toes, preventing irritation of this muscle. Please read The Whole Story on Shin Splints in our Chi Library for a detailed explanation.

I am a beginning runner and was told I could run a marathon in 4 months, Will Chi Running help?

We do not suggest that beginning runners run a marathon in the first year of running. True beginners should train for a half marathon over a minimum of 6 months and longer if possible. The key is to make sure you take the time to learn proper running technique without forcing or powering your way to a certain distance goal. You can train for any distance after you’re comfortable with the Chi Running technique.

How do I set up a workshop in my area?

Contact one of our many Certified Instructors! We have a growing team of over 200 Certified Instructors around the world who would be happy to work with you to bring Chi Running or Chi Walking to your community. 

I’m interested in attending a workshop, but can I participate if I have plantar fasciitis?

It depends. If you really can't walk or move at the time of the workshop, it wouldn't be as worthwhile. Feedback from the Certified Instructor during the workshop could be limited: you might get the same information as others, but not the same experience. If you are reasonably mobile by the time of the workshop, you'll get a lot out of it, and learn how to avoid the same injuries in the future. Our Instructors prefer that attendees get a Body Sense of the technique during the workshop, which can be difficult if you can barely walk. All to say ... it's up to you.

I am 65 years old. Do you think I can still run?

We have many customers in the 65+ age range. Many have had some running experience, but there are beginning runners who come to us at age 60 desiring a new approach to fitness. One of Danny’s clients, Helen Klein, is over 80 years old and continues to run marathons. She ran a 4:31 marathon and also participants in ultra-marathons. If you want to run, Chi Running gives you the tools to make it safe and enjoyable.

Can I learn Chi Running from the book?

Absolutely! The book has all the information you need to learn the basic form techniques. Be patient with yourself. There have been some people who have been able to find more ease and joy in their running from integrating only one or two focuses from the book. Using the DVD and/or CD will give you additional visual and audio cues that can make the learning process easier. We highly recommend teaming up with a partner to learn the Chi Running technique. You can also attend a workshop and find a Certified Instructor.

What is the difference between Chi Running and other running methods?

Most other running methods depend on strong leg muscles,so their emphasis is on leg conditioning and strengthening. Chi Running emphasizes using core muscles which are stronger and more efficient. You’ll learn how to engage gravity, letting it do the work instead of your legs. As we say, “It ain't the muscle, it's the motion.”

Do I have to be a seasoned runner to get the most out of a workshop? Can a beginning running attend?

Beginning runners consistently make up a large percentage of our workshop attendees. Don't hesitate to attend a workshop; if the workshop is geared for more advanced runners, the description will say so. Contrary to what you might think, most workshops don’t include a lot of running. Instead, we focus on exercises and drills to teach you the form.Many of our favorite success stories come from customers just getting started with running.

Can I practice Chi Running on a treadmill?

Yes, you can practice Chi Running on a treadmill, but it’s very different from running outdoors. You can read an extensive explanation about treadmill running in Chapter 7 of Chi Running (2009). Reducing impact and injury is more difficult on a treadmill than it is on road, track or trail running, but you can still put the technique to use.

Is Chi Running good for Triathletes?

Triathletes love Chi Running because when they get off their bike their legs can take a rest! With this technique, you can rest and relax your legs while gravity does the work of pulling you forward.

What is “Chi”?

Chi (pronounced chee as in cheetah) is the Chinese term for “that which animates all life.” It is also called “life force energy.” The Chi Running and Chi Walking techniques have blended movement principles from the ancient martial art, T’ai Chi, with the active sports of running and walking. This blend creates a more mindful, centered and balanced approach to fitness. Please read our article "What is Chi?” for more information.

Why do I need to learn to walk?

Very young children have perfect walking form. However, as we age, we lose the relaxed movement of early childhood because we spend an extraordinary amount of time in sedentary positions, sitting, driving, at the computer or in front of the TV. All of these changes affect our walking, and our walking affects our body movement.

Learning good walking form with Chi Walking can prevent a myriad of problems: back pain, knee pain, hip pain, etc. Walking also helps prevent arthritis. ChiWalking uses elements of T'ai Chi which has been shown to improve balance, strength and improve cognition. By learning good form you can walk more efficiently and with less wear and tear on the body. 

How is ChiWalking different from regular walking?

Most people walk by primarily using the muscles in their legs. As a result, people lead with their legs and pull themselves forward. Chi Walking teaches you to use your core muscles rather than your leg muscles, allowing your upper body to lead your lower body. This forward movement engages the pull the gravity, which then becomes your ally. In Chi Walking, your arms are engaged and good posture and body alignment help you become a more efficient, balanced walker. 

How is ChiWalking different from power walking?

Most types of power walking require a great deal of leg strength and toe-off. Chi Walking requires lower leg relaxation while letting your upper body lead, rather than pushing off with your toes and feet. When you push with your feet you're more apt to get shin splints and other lower leg injuries and problems.

How is ChiWalking different from race walking?

Race walking is a very specific form of walking different from Chi Walking. To learn to race walk correctly and to compete it is important that you know the rules, as you are required to use the race walking form in many events. You can read more about the differences in the Chi Walking book.

Should I try to learn ChiWalking if I am injured or in pain?

For some types of injury and pain, Chi Walking may be just what you need. For others, it may not be appropriate until you are more fully recovered. You should always check with your health care practitioner before engaging in any fitness program, especially if you are injured, in pain, or recovering from illness. We encourage you to listen carefully to your own body by Body Sensing any time you walk and stop immediately if it is ever painful.

Chi Walking relies on movement principles from T'ai Chi, which has been shown to improve balance, strength and improve cognition. With good form you can walk more efficiently and fluidly, with less wear and tear on your body.

Can I learn ChiWalking from the book?

Most definitely, you can learn Chi Walking from the book. Some customers have had breakthroughs after reading only 1 chapter. However, the DVD can really help you visualize exactly what the technique looks like. We've done our best with photos in the book, but there is nothing like a moving picture to explain movement. It also depends on you. Go through each lesson in the book slowly and carefully. If you need more help, the DVD, audio CD or a Certified Instructor are great educational resources.

Will ChiWalking help me lose weight?

A consistent fitness and diet program will help you lose and maintain a healthy weight. We believe proper eating habits should regulate your weight, while your exercise habits regulate your general health and sense of well being.

Our goal with Chi Walking is to make your walking program a regular, ongoing part of your life. There is always more to learn about how your body moves and works, and walking is an excellent way to keep learning. As you get better at Body Sensing and listening to your body, you will also become more adept at listening to the messages about food that your body is telling you. 

How can I get help learning ChiWalking if there isn’t a Certified Instructor in my area?

The ChiWalking book and DVD package is the best place to start. You can learn a lot form these home study materials. We also suggest learning with a friend. Many Certified Instructors are willing to travel to conduct a workshop, especially if they have an enthusiastic supporter like you to help arrange it.

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