Walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise. Walking is also the form of exercise that presents the most injuries and pain due to poor technique. Pain and/or injuries to the feet, knees, back or shoulders during or after walking can often be eliminated with chi walking, a form of walking based on tai chi which keeps body in alignment and makes walking easier on the body from head to toe.
Chi Walking Aims Whole Body Forward
It wastes energy and invites pain or injury if arms are swinging from side to side or feet are pointing inward or outward while walking. Chi walking gets the whole body facing forward while walking to prevent injury and to garner the walker the most benefits from the walking experience.
Chi Walking Aligns Upper Body
Most people walk with a lazy posture; slumped shoulders, chin jutting forward with hips leading the walk. Chi walking aligns the upper body and distributes body weight more evenly so the bones, instead of muscles, are supporting body weight. The upper body is aligned by simply lifting the crown of the end and holding in that uplifted position while walking. This aligns the neck, opens up the chest for easier breathing and drops the chin down slightly.
Chi Walking Levels Pelvis
When the upper body is in alignment, it’s easy to take the strain off your lower back (preventing low back pain) by leveling the pelvis. Engage the muscles in the lower abdomen to lift and level pelvis while walking. Muscles in the lower abdomen are the ones that tense when coughing, and can consciously be lifted and held in that position.
Fall Into Chi Walk
Chi walking uses a controlled fall position and allows gravity to help make walking easier on the body. Chi walking leads with the upper body by leaning body forward with a ¼ inch tilt. Keep crown lifted, pelvis level and lean forward from the leg/pelvis junction, just a slight ¼ inch, to create a controlled fall body position and working with gravity while walking.
Posture Checks During and After Chi Walking
When beginning chi walking, use reminders to check posture during walking. Use a wrist watch alarm set at five minute intervals or passing landmarks to remind yourself to keep body headed forward crown lifted and pelvis level. Use posture checks to keep muscles engaged and chi energy flowing all day with this trick – sit at your desk in your best posture. Place a picture on the wall behind your computer screen which is at eye level while you are sitting in your best posture. When the picture begins to slip behind the computer screen and out of view, you’re slumping.