By Danny Dreyer
Running and walking are two of the most accessible, beneficial forms of exercise. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment – just a pair of sneakers and a path to travel on. In fact, more than 24 million people in the U.S. alone run, but studies show that annually more than half of all runners incur an injury that disrupts their training. Millions more quit or avoid running because of injury or the fear of causing long-term damage. It’s unfortunate that one of the simplest ways to stay fit can also be one of the most painful.
But, the Chi Running and Chi Walking techniques prove that running and walking don’t have to hurt. For over ten years now, Chi Running and Chi Walking have helped thousands of runners and walkers of all levels avoid and recover from injury, move more efficiently, and reach their fitness goals. Chi Running and Chi Walking, founded by Danny and Katherine Dreyer, incorporate elements of T’ai Chi to use gravity, proper body alignment, relaxation and core strength to reduce the impact running and walking can have on joints, bones, and leg muscles.
Danny, a student of T’ai Chi for over 20 years, began running ultra-marathons in 1991. When he experienced subsequent knee pain, he applied the T’ai Chi concept of rotating around his central axis and using his larger core muscles for propulsion instead of his legs. Since then, he hasn’t had a single injury.
Danny certainly isn’t the only one who has seen first-hand results. “Every week we receive success stories from clients expressing gratitude for Chi Running and Chi Walking. Over the years we’ve gotten thousands of letters. We love hearing these testimonials, so we wanted to get quantitative results to find out how Chi Runners and Chi Walkers are doing overall,” says Danny. A 2011 Satisfaction Survey (view both 2008 and 2011 survey results here), conducted by ChiLiving, Inc. and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, in conjunction with West Virginia University, collected data from 3,000 experienced recreational Chi Runners between the ages of 35-59. 97% of participants reported that they were probably/definitely able to change their running mechanics with Chi Running/Chi Walking, and 92% said Chi Running/Chi Walking has played a role in preventing injuries.
Chi Running and Chi Walking also help improve performance and endurance. Before practicing Chi Running, 44% of respondents said their perceived exertion/discomfort while running was hard or very hard. After practicing the technique, less than 7% reported that their perceived exertion was hard or very hard. 74% feel their speed has increased with Chi Running, and 96% believe Chi Running has helped them overall. It’s clear these techniques make quite a difference.
To those who’ve been injured, are fearful of injury, want to run farther and/or faster, or want to actually enjoy running, Chi Running and Chi Walking offer new possibilities. The Dreyer’s have created a line of instructional products to help users learn the techniques, including the Chi Running and Chi Walking books and DVDs, as well as training programs for 5K to Marathon distances. The Dreyer’s, along with over 140 Certified Instructors, teach workshops worldwide. With the help of Chi Running and Chi Walking, thousands who have been sidelined with injuries are now able to get back in the race. As Danny says, “It’s not running that hurts your body, it’s the way you run.”
Danny Dreyer is the creator of ChiRunning® and ChiWalking®, revolutionary forms of moving that blend T’ai Chi with running and walking. ChiRunning and ChiWalking by Danny and Katherine Dreyer are No. 1 sellers with over 350,000 copies sold. The ChiRunning marathon book, published by Simon & Schuster, is due out in early 2012. As an accomplished Ultra Marathon runner, Danny has spoken at prestigious wellness events across the country. He has taught training groups including the AIDS Marathon, Team in Training, USA/FIT, and many others. Danny, along with more than 140 Certified Instructors, holds capacity-filled clinics around the world.