Highly Recommended: Chi Walking: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy

Do you want to start an exercise program?  Are you already walking but want to know how to avoid blisters and other injuries?  Do you want to walk more efficiently and healthfully?  Are you landing incorrectly on your feet?  You might be surprised by what you learn.  I was!  In fact, this book has changed my life for the better.

If you want to learn how to walk correctly, I highly recommend Chi Walking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy and its companion DVD ChiWalking DVD: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy (sold separately).  Authors Danny Dreyer, an esteemed walking and running coach, and his wife Katherine, who has more than twenty years of experience in the health, personal growth, and fitness fields, describe a five step process to chi walking: getting aligned, engaging your core, creating balance, making a choice (e.g., cardio walking, aerobic walking, and meditation walking), and moving forward.

I used to be a power walker years ago, along with doing karate and weight training; however, I had to stop everything when I broke all the cartilage in my chest at karate.   In October 2009, I started to get back in shape with walking; however, when I increased my speed to 3.7 mph, I got nasty blisters on my feet.  My walking became sporadic or slower than I wanted while I waited for my blisters (some more than 1 inch long)  to heal up.

When I found this book at a running store, initially I was intrigued with the title since I was not only a karate practitioner, but also a tai chi practitioner.  Then, I really resonated with what the authors were saying.  It all made sense to me.

The authors start out talking about chi and how the goal of walking is health with movement as the key.  They quote some sobering research from the November 2004 issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “Research shows that adults who are physically active in their 50s and early 60s are about 35 percent less likely to die in the next eight years than those who are sedentary.  For those who have a high heart risk because of diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoking the reduction is 45 percent.”

After talking about the five-step process, the authors discuss the five chi skills before moving on to the chi-walking technique.  They then talk about the 12 different types of walking and how to use the techniques for each one.  The rest of the chapters talk about transitioning into walking, creating a chi-walking program, hiking, indoor walking and the treadmill, creating a balance in your diet, and making the choice.

Putting the ideas into practice, however, was a little more problematic since I really wanted to see a visual of how these techniques were done correctly.  Thank goodness we could buy the companion ChiWalking DVD: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy.  It was quite helpful, so I highly suggest buying the book with the DVD.

Just as the book and DVD say, practice the first three steps in the mirror and/or more preferably with a friend to observe your posture before starting to walk.  I wish I had followed this advice, but I was used to tucking my pelvis in tai chi.  However, I wasn’t used to tucking it in while walking.

Initially when I started walking with these new techniques on the treadmill, I was tucking my pelvis too much, so my hips hurt.  (If you are feeling pain with this walking technique, you might be overcorrecting, like I was.)  Once I practiced in the mirror and had my husband observe me, everything felt great.  It’s amazing how I felt like I was gliding.  Walking became less of an effort.

Even more important, I started landing with even pressure on the bottom of my foot, instead of with a heal strike, and my blister problem went away.  Also, I had been wearing holes in the counters of my shoes just within a couple of months, but with this new technique my shoes have been holding up.  Also, now the wear pattern on the bottom is pretty even, no more overpronation!

I’ve even used these techniques to begin a running program.  I had never run in my life, but now I’m training for a 5K in May.  Gratefully, I have not had any injuries, and I attribute this to the Chi Walking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy and its companion DVD ChiWalking DVD: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy.

This book and DVD are definitely ones I want to have on my shelf, as I experiment with different types of walking.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5)