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

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