Written by: Katherine Dreyer, Co-founder of ChiRunning, ChiWalking & ChiLiving
The number one reason I walk every day is simple: because many years of experience have taught me how much better I feel when I walk. A day without walking is truly like a day without sunshine.
Since walking is low impact (with high benefits) it is safe to walk every day and by doing so, you establish a healthy habit that becomes part of your routine.
In T’ai Chi and in Chinese Medicine energy that gets stuck is what causes pain, fatigue and even illness. The more I feel this in my own body, the more I want to walk which helps keep energy flowing.
When the clear benefits became obvious to me, walking became an absolute priority. Nothing compares with a 40-minute walk to set the stage for a great day, except maybe running. But I’m generally a walker.
Who doesn’t want to:
- have more energy
- feel clear and balanced emotionally
- have a more focused mind
- stave off cold or flu
- keep aches and pains at bay?
I walk every day because good energy is everything to me. Creating positive, flowing energy is the best way for me to really enjoy life. On my walks, I almost always stop and do about 10 minutes of Qigong. Wow, is that the perfect combo.
Fair Weather or Any Weather Walking
Meanwhile, getting into nature, breathing fresh air, feeling the change of seasons and enjoying every kind of weather is deeply and profoundly enlivening to the spirit. Did you know that the worst air pollution is indoors? Everyone needs more time outside.
Because I walk every day, I know that many people are fair-weather-walkers. If it’s the perfect day, there are many more people out running and walking, but come the cold or rain, I have the trail practically to myself.
I have the right gear for heat, cold, rain, and snow. A windy storm with thunder and lightning is my only true deterrent. Walking is my sunshine, even when it’s raining. Besides, I love the rain. Walking in the rain makes me feel like a kid again.
ChiWalking Helps Heal Injuries
Before I walked every day, I walked 3-4 times a week, but still had some low back trouble over the years. By walking every day not only have I staved off back pain, but I’ve also healed some foot and Achilles tendonitis problems too. Not only do I feel better, but I have a deep sense of confidence in myself and my body. Since I’ve been walking every day, I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.
It took me a long time, but I can now walk with the most minimal shoes. The first year I tried, I went too minimal too fast and got the Achilles tendonitis problem. I’ve also had plantar fasciitis. In both cases, I knew I needed to work on my technique even more, so I did. I learned to relax my lower legs even more and eliminate any push off. I still practice all the ChiWalking form focuses for the same reason I walk; because they feel so good.
Multi-tasking while Walking
While walking I meditate, practice various breathing techniques, improve my balance on curbs on the road. Walking dates are one way I keep up with my friends as well.
At 59 there are many things I have had to reduced significantly: chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, GMO wheat products, red meat, even popcorn no longer agrees with me. I still indulge now and then, but having reduced these so-called pleasures, as me and my girlfriends have discussed…at least we know we can still walk and breathe, walk and breathe.
I do miss maybe one or two days a month and when I do, I’m acutely aware that something vital is missing. Mostly I have an energetic experience of being sluggish, tending a bit more toward irritability, and generally feel less present with myself.
The benefits of walking are well documented and the list almost endless. But reading about those benefits and actually experiencing and living with them is as different as reading about an orange versus biting into its live, sweet juiciness.
If you start with 3-4 days a week you’ll soon experience some significant differences and maybe want more; more energy, more fresh air, more satisfaction, more movement.
The benefits are incalculable in terms of longevity and quality of life. From lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease to greatly reducing depression and the risk of diabetes, it is truly the miracle cure everyone is looking for.
Add a little Chi to the mix and life becomes different, better, even more joyful. What’s not to like?