First Steps to a Healthier You
Butterfield is offering a new fitness program that combines the powerful principles of Tai Chi – already a widely popular fitness class at BTV – with one of the most underrated forms of exercise: walking.
Fitness & Wellness Director Jennifer Neill will introduce Chi walking, a low impact form of walking, to residents through a number of fitness and wellness opportunities in 2021.
Chi walking applies key points of Tai Chi to walking, creating balance in the body with a focus on an aligned spine. Chi walking activates the core muscles of the torso, making it gentler on the lower body than regular walking, and helps prevent pain, fatigue and injury. It’s a fundamental, yet transformative, approach to improved health and wellness in everyday life.
“In Chi walking, your focus is on creating good posture,” Neill explained. “When your posture is good, you allow your core muscles to do their job, while your legs and arms stay relaxed. Secondly, align your mind. Focus on sensing what is going on in your body, then direct your body to make necessary positive changes specific to your own individual needs.”
Chi walking helps improve posture, increase mobility and build cardio and aerobic conditioning. It can alleviate and even heal hip pain, joint inflammation and foot aliments, such as plantar fasciitis.
Neill, who is earning her ChiWalking Instructor Certification, has applied the techniques to her own fitness regime with great success. Because it’s low impact and holistic, Chi walking is great way to manage weight, rehab an injury, or improve overall quality of life.
“I have improvement within my own running as I have been able to change my focus and experience the mind/body connection, allowing me to run with more ease, less pain, and lots of joy,” Neill said. “I want the residents to experience this, too, while walking.”
Neill will incorporate Chi walking into the BTV group hiking program when it’s active again in spring and fall. She and her team will host a series of guided Chi walking classes for residents, each with a specific focus: a cardio walk to strengthen the heart, a hilly walk to build upper body and leg strength, a loosening walk to relax the body, and others.
She’s earning the ChiWalking Instructor Certification through a training program at chirunning.com. Her training was made possible in part by a donation made in memory of BTV resident Polly Lancaster.
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Chi Walking Steps:
• Get Aligned. Straighten your posture physically and orient your intentions mentally.
• Engage Your Body’s Core. Begin walking with core strength, rather than leg strength.
• Create Balance. As you walk, balance your body from back-to-front, side-to-side and upper body to lower body. A state of physical balance supports a state of emotional balance.
• Integrate Mind & Body. Tap into the mind/body connection. Direct your body to move forward with a consistent, joyful practice of walking and healthier movement.