Age of discovery

This morning, I woke up with no pain and it was startling.

As I confessed in my previous entry, I had been living with pains and aches ever since I started playing hockey again and especially the peak of the discomfort was in the morning, like every part of my body was stiff and seized up like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz. And this extreme discomfort continued until I finished my morning exercise routine.

However this morning, despite the fact that I attended a hockey practice eight hours ago, I awoke feeling well rested and serene. While my body was cradled in a warm plump winter duvet, I was stretching my limbs and feeling blissful like that koala in the Cushelle ad chilling out on a fluffy cloud.

So what brought this change?

It has been almost one month since I introduced a series of therapeutic stretching into my morning workout and it was a revelation.

The stretching is constructed with three separate workouts – for upper body, core and lower body – and it takes 45 minutes to complete. As the length of time to finish it suggests, the programme is very thorough and educational.

‘So that was the cause of the pain?’

I have a dodgy right hip joint and it has been the cause of my misery every time I skate. I can’t remember exactly since when the problem started but I have been living with this annoying pain for more than fifteen years. I visited a physio and spent a small fortune to solve it but it was never cured. It is a mystery, the physio sighed and advised me to rest the area.

Then, I took a time-off from skating for more than 18 months and during the period, I was leading almost pain-free life. Occasionally, I felt a slight niggle when I rode an exercise bike hard but I didn’t make nothing of it.

However, the familiar old pain returned as soon as I started to skate again a month ago, exactly the same way and on the same spot.

I was shocked but also realised that the pain was not caused by a simple injury because if it was, the pain should have gone by now.

So what am I doing wrong? Why does my hip joint scream with a complaint every time I extend it?

I asked one of my teammates who was also a goalie if she experienced a similar problem. She suggested I may have been overstraining the hip joint while striding because my muscles around the buttock and the back of the thigh weren’t working properly. It was a “light-bulb turned on’ kind of moment for me.

It was very true that I had a very tight hip. Also the left side of my core / torso wasn’t as strong nor supple as the right side. So my body was out of balance?

The stretching programme has taught me a lot about myself which I was not aware all my life. There were so many muscles and joints on my body under the radar!

Recently, I am in the process of re-educating myself how to move each part of my body more “mindfully”. For example, making myself aware about turning my rib cage instead of my pelvis and my neck when I am twisting my upper body. Or reminding myself not to lean too forward when I walk so I will not compress my dodgy hip joint too much. There are more than a few adjustments I have introduced to my daily life.

It will be wonderful if the change in my workout regime eventually puts an end to my dodgy hip joint saga and allows me to enjoy hockey more. At the end of the day, I just want to be healthy and strong so I can age positively.

BTW, I am visiting Paris today!

My day trip has just started but already I nearly have had a disaster!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Magic!

How does this happen every time? I marvelled as I put away a balance ball and a Pilates mat and reached out for a glass of water on the table.

The customary aches and pain of post-hockey practice, which made me feel like a car wreck victim, vanished from my body like magic and I felt absolutely wonderful.

Before going back to play ice hockey again, I was exercising diligently and believing I was reasonably in a good shape. However, my smugness was slapped down to the ground quite spectacularly after the very first team practice. What had I been doing during those hockey-free months?! All those hours I spent riding an exercise bike and sweating with dumbbells and a balance ball seemed to mean so little, I felt utterly crushed.

It could have been far worse if I went back to the sport cold turkey, I convinced myself while nursing (& cursing!) my very sore and tired upper thighs.

Skating requires a very unique muscle group which is almost impossible to tone up with conventional gym equipments. Obviously, the sojourn from hockey did weaken the strength around my groin area and I was reminded of it.

One thing which really sucks when it comes to one’s ageing is the slowness of recovery process. I am doing everything I can think of in order to recover, yet I seem to be left with aches and fatigues days after the practice. Will my body get used to the new regime eventually?

However, there is a brief moment of comfort in my otherwise ache-ridden days. I feel pain-free and easy right after I have finished my daily exercise routine which consists of a series of dynamic stretching and core-works with a balance ball. While I am sweating and feeling loose, my optimism about the ache-free future returns.

Unfortunately, the aches will return while I am chained to a desk and forced to look at the screen of my iMac. Ugh, I hate feeling like being the tin man in the Wizard of Oz!

I am definitely not a fitness fanatic but I am addicted to the pain-free moment which arrives after the exercise. ‘Take it easy’, Hubbie says as he glances at me slaving on a Pilates mat. Well, it’s easier said than done…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Don’t despair

My Bella could do far far worse…

 

Who cares if he finishes it or not. He is so adorable!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Big freeze

Apparently, it was the coldest first day of March on record. Even though the snow caused huge havoc on road and rail, Bella and I enjoyed it a lot.

‘I love the snow as long as it is fresh!’

 

She romped around in the snow, chasing an invisible something larking under the white surface.

Snow ball fight commences!

 

She couldn’t have enough of it. She loved every minute we spent on a wood deck behind Hubbie’s office. I kicked up some snow with my Timberland boots and she chased the bits and pieces thrown into her furry face.

Thanks to Beast from the East, my girl Bella, who was still halfway out of her puppydom, could experience and have fun with the snow. I was very happy for her.

Who knows when we gonna have another snowfall? A five years wait? Perhaps?

My favourite lunch haunt, Alpino, had a very handsome snowman by the entrance…

For some people, this freakish weather condition must have been nuisance or even menace. However, experiencing a proper winter in London was a very rare thing and I was very happy to able to enjoy it with Bella…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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