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Home arrow Fitness arrow Walking arrow Chi Walking: Technique and Benefits

Chi Walking: Technique and Benefits

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 18, 2022
4 min read 1431 Views 0 Comments
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Chi walking is an exercise practice that not only helps to strengthen the body but also promotes mindfulness and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

chi walking

Many exercises help you strengthen your body, but finding something that enhances your mindful awareness is not so common. 

Chi walking is a walking style that helps to bring balance to both the body, as well as the mind. 

In this article, we will be doing a deeper dive into what exactly Chi walking is, its many benefits, and some ways that you can start incorporating it into your daily life.

What Is Chi Walking?

Chi walking is a walking style that originates from the centuries-old tai chi practice.

By infusing tai chi principles – namely, a strong engagement through the muscles of your core – into your everyday walk, you open yourself up to the possibility of creating a more effortless walking posture.

While doing a chi walking program, you also want to focus on being mindful of your steps.

This awareness of your body can bring a sense of ease into your walks and naturally draw your attention back to the present moment.

The combination makes it easy for you to turn your walks into a walking meditation that maximizes the possible health benefits and enhances feelings of calm in the body and the mind.

Chi Walking Technique for Beginners 

You can begin chi walking by treating it almost like tai chi, meaning that you don’t actually do any walking but instead focus on moving mindfully. 

This might look like taking turns extending the right and left foot out in front of the body while gently rocking between the heel and toe and inside and outside the edge of the feet. All while mindfully engaging the core muscles. 

When you feel ready, you can bring the new postural adjustments out into the world by gently reminding yourself of the proper posture cues throughout your walk, which will naturally help your mind to stay grounded in the present moment. 

5 Benefits of Chi Walking

Chi walking, in particular, has many unique benefits since it emphasizes a focus on good posture, proper alignment, and moving mindfully.

#1 Fix walking imbalances

Most of us have been walking our entire lives incorrectly. 

Whether we walk too much into the inside or outside the edge of our feet, strike our heels down, or walk with our shoulders hunched up around our ears, the cumulative effect of these imbalances can lead to aches and pains later on in life.

Chi walking emphasizes body alignment, which means that these mindful steps can help bring about more balance in the body, leading to lifelong health. 

#2 Benefits for mental health

Chi walking is an intensely rewarding practice, especially when it comes to the effect it can have on our mental health. 

The practice of meditation is something that is becoming increasingly popular as a holistic treatment option for people who suffer from various mental health disorders. 

Chi walking is essentially a combination of tai chi and walking meditation. Both tai chi and meditation have been clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and can even help treat disorders like PTSD.

#3 Reduce aches and pains

Walking incorrectly can create a lot of pain in the body, especially if you work a job where you are on your feet all day.

Part of this pain will more than likely be expressed in the feet, ankles, and lower legs, which have a tendency to be affected by stress injuries like shin splints. Surprisingly, our lower backs are another area of our body that is highly affected by poor walking posture.

When we walk without an engagement through our core muscles, our lower backs take on a much higher load. Over time this can cause excess strain on the muscles and soft tissues in the back, leading to aches and pains, even when seated. 

Chi walking can help you become aware of this postural alignment and lead to an improvement in your overall health. 

#4 Promote mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way of thinking that involves being less in our heads and more focused on the little things around us that often go unnoticed. 

Having mindful awareness would mean that we more easily pick up on the subtleties in what we are thinking, how we are feeling emotionally, and the different sensations in our bodies.

One of the main benefits of tai chi is that it urges practitioners to slow down and focus more on the present moment, and the same can be said for this walking meditation. 

By finding new ways to slow down and disconnect from our usual busyness, we can gain more mental clarity, emotional intelligence, and a greater sense of compassion for ourselves and others. 

#5 Improve athletic ability

Walking of any kind is often an underrated form of exercise that, when done consistently, can greatly improve the strength of our leg and core muscles and allow us to perform other physical activities with less effort. 

Even if you are already in the habit of another form of daily exercise, going for more walks is a great way to improve your recovery time and even burn more calories, leading to easier weight loss if that’s your goal.

Is Chi Walking Good for Weight Loss?

Any amount of daily exercise will be good for weight loss. According to this study, walking for even 30 minutes 5 times a week can have many of the same benefits as more intense cardiovascular activity.

Slow, methodical Chi walks might not have the same calorie-burning potential as a faster pace walk, but when done consistently, they are guaranteed to help you see results

A Word From Our Coach:

Even walking as little as 3 miles a day can have surprising effects on your health, both mental and physical, especially when you invite in the mindfulness aspect of tai chi.

In our fast-paced world, we do not often have the opportunity to disconnect from our thoughts and worries and give our minds a much-needed break.

Going for more chi walks, where you focus on nothing other than mindfully aligning your body and being in the present moment, can be a holistic mental health practice that can help you get your body and mind into great shape.

Bottom Line

Chi walking is a form of meditative walking rooted in the same principles as tai chi.

This style of walking aims to help practitioners move more mindfully. With your thoughts focused on the present moment and your core muscles engaged, you can walk while simultaneously soothing the mind and body more effortlessly.

Although Chi walking has benefits regarding weight loss, the perks of this walking style go far beyond just trimming your waistline. When done correctly, it can even help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 18, 2022
4 min read 1431 Views 0 Comments

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