Tai Chi Running

If you love the high of running but hate the joint and muscle pain that often come with it, you may want to check out ChiRunning. Started by Danny Dreyer, a man who regularly runs “ultra marathons” (30- to 100-mile jogs) and wrote ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Aproach to Effortless, Injury-free Running, the method applies Tai Chi’s mind-body principles to traditional go-the-distance running. It’s supposed to eliminate things like shin splints and make jogging joyful.

The method combines aligned posture, core strength, focus on your thoughts and attention to internal energy (chi). A recent article in Health magazine describes the ChiRunning form as “something similar to how kids do it: body slightly tilted forward, shoulders relaxed, legs lengthening behind you with each stride, all the while (and this is the chi part) concentrating on allowing yourself to experience the joy of your body's natural movement.”

Instead of slamming the heel down first in each step (like most runners do), the article explains that Dreyer suggests making the foot’s softer center the first place of impact. And, as for the mind part: “If you use your brain, you don’t need to work your body as hard,” Dreyer told WebMD. “ChiRunning is about having a constant conversation between your mind and your body, getting your mind to train your body to relax, and listen to what your body trying to tell you.”

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