Developed over a decade ago by ultra-marathoner Danny Dreyer, Chi Running, continues to capture the imagination of fitness advocates, in large part because of its gentler treatment of the body: 92% of the people who have studied Chi Running and Chi Walking say that the techniques have helped them prevent injuries.
San Jose instructor Aracely Areas (see links to her workshops at the bottom of this article) provides her students with a handout that explains Chi Running as a holistic practice. Alignment and relaxation are key, she says, to accomplishing the energy efficiency and injury prevention for which the technique is known.
See Part One of this story: Chi Running – is this safer, gentler technique best for you?
Overview of Chi Running
Pronounced CHEE (not CHI) this approach to running and walking was generally unknown until 2009, when (according to Examiner writer Kimberly Bogin) Christopher McDougall wrote “Born to Run,” a true and inspiring story of a group of ragtag ultra-runners and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. The book became a bestseller, and suddenly barefoot, natural, minimalist and Chi Running were in the spotlight.
Often written as one word, “ChiRunning”, the parent company, Chi Living, Inc, has now transitioned to writing it as two words.
Chi Running student Belinda Pitco, describes the technique as, “The belief is that powerful running happens by letting the body’s natural alignment flow with the forces of gravity. This energy, or chi, can improve one’s form, reduce back, hip and leg injuries, and boost overall running performance.”
The holistic approach is what leads some advocates, such as San Jose’s Jacquie Mardell, to describe it as “how the body and running interact.” Mardell, in addition to being a trained instructor, runs the online forums for the Chi Running web site.
Chi Running ranks high in satisfaction
Aracely has helped hundreds of people regain the joy of running. The positive feedback she gets is supported by data from a 2011 survey conducted by Chi Living, Inc, and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, in conjunction with West Virginia University. Data from over 3,000 respondents found:
- 92% felt that Chi Running and Chi Walking have played a role in preventing running/walking injuries.
- 97% said they were probably/definitely able to change their running mechanics with Chi Running/Chi Walking.
- 69% felt they were a heel striker before practicing Chi Running & 84% felt they were not after practicing Chi Running.
- 96% felt Chi Running has helped them.
- 74% felt their speed improved with Chi Running.
For information on Arcaley Areas’ workshops, here are links to upcoming workshops in San Jose/Sunnyvale and Hawaii.
8/21/2011 – http://store.chiliving.com/Workshops/Half-day-ChiRunning-Workshop-W0116
10/09/2011 – http://store.chiliving.com/Workshops/Half-day-ChiRunning-Workshop-W0118
12/03/2011(Hawaii) – http://store.chiliving.com/Workshops/One-day-ChiRunning-Workshop-W0050