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Relaxing. Breathing. Staying aware of your body and your energy. If this sounds like gentle meditation, you’re only partly right. Followers of a phenomenon called ChiRunning practice these calming, focusing techniques based in the martial art form, Tai Chi, to improve their running. You’ve probably heard the saying, “mind over matter.” This running technique, developed by a man named Danny Dreyer, does something like that. It focuses on calming and centering the mind, then using it to retrain your body to run more efficiently so that you’re less likely to injure yourself.

This retraining involves improving your breathing, changing your posture, and adjusting your footfalls. The idea is that using your body’s natural structure and strengths will help you run better. Better breathing keeps you aware of your surroundings and helps the oxygen flow to your muscles. Tightening your core and changing your posture allows your muscles to work more efficiently. Running with a midfoot strike, short strides, and a quick cadence helps your lower limbs absorb shock and push off the ground better.

Since runners can be prone to a lot of overuse injuries, jogging smarter and not harder could make a real difference for many people. Fewer injuries and more enjoyable runs could help you stay active and healthy throughout your life. If you’re interested in trying ChiRunning, there are instructors in the Toronto and Markham areas. If you’d rather try something a little closer to Collingwood, you could look into the martial art form that made ChiRunning possible—Tai Chi. Taoist Tai Chi in Collingwood offers classes for beginners and those looking to recover from an injury.

Remember, whenever you start a new activity or change your running habits, you need to begin slowly and pay attention to your feet and ankles. If you experience pain, contact us at Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, Ontario, for an appointment, more information, or to take care of your lower limbs. Visit our online contact page or call (705) 444-9929 to reach us.

Photo credit: dan via freedigitalphotos.net