Women’s wellness expert, bestselling author, and our former Guest Editor, Dr. Sara Gottfried, once mentioned a form of exercise we’d never heard of as her secret to staying balanced when she feels frazzled: Chi Running. She only mentioned it in passing, but it was enough to pique our interest and get our wheels turning. After asking around in our fitness community with not more than a “huh?” to show for it, we knew we needed to find out more about this mystery workout of the wellness pros…

What It Is: This running technique combines T’ai Chi with the power and energy of running with the focus and flow of T’ai Chi. Created by Ultramarathoner Danny Dreyer, the goal is to empower runners with an efficient, pain-free way of doing what they love. Some people will shy away from running since it’s so high-impact. Dreyer argues that it’s not running that can hurt your body – it’s biomechanics. Chi Running teaches you bio-mechanically correct running form that’s got the principles of T’ai Chi movement woven into the mix. Think working with core muscles, mind-body integration, and a focus on the big picture instead of just banging out your next run as quickly as you can.

Why You Should Try It: You know those people who say the only time they “run” is when they’re being chased? We’re pretty convinced that this practice could win even them over. Chi Running turns your typical run into a zen experience. It has been proven to increase mental clarity, focus, and boost happiness – all while keeping you safe and injury-free. It teaches you how to take the pounding and harsh movements out of your stride. This prevents pain and potential damage in the long haul. Think shin splints, IT band injury, hip problems, knee injuries, and all the harm that can come from lurching your body around instead of simply letting it flow.

How To Get Started: You don’t need to know T’ai Chi to Chi Run. And you don’t need to be an experienced runner, either. Pick up a copy of Chi Running: A Training Program for Effortless, Injury-Free Running to learn more – and if you need a little extra support (or just a Chi workout buddy!), find a certified instructor near you.

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