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

Body & Mind

My apology for abstaining from blogging recently. During the past few weeks, I had been feeling exhausted, like my mind and body were not in sync at all. Ideas of what I want to do and what I ought to do were at loggerheads in my head all the time, and it made me feel bad. ‘Come on, move your lazy a**!’ A drill sergeant in my head shouted at my reluctant half, who just wanted to curl up and do nothing.

Ugh, I have to snap out of this!

So what was the cause of me being so tired and unmotivated? Well, I created this unfavourable situation by myself unwittingly.

I ramped up the intensity of my workout routine recently in order to tone my body, especially upper arms, for the summer, and I ended up overloading myself as a result. Don’t laugh at my vanity because my body does need a serious toning up! I gave up a regular exercise when I was mourning the death of my beloved Mr.B, and during the following autumn and winter months, my days were spent nursing one cold to another. Eventually, I started to feel free from ailments as the weather started to get warmer. It was time for me to embark on a new “Get ready for sleeveless tops” workout regime.

The regime went swimmingly for the first two weeks. I felt great and virtuous. I had a spring in my step when I walked to the office with Bella. My skin was glowing. Lean and strong! I am an epitome of health, I thought.

Then, all the overworking started to catch up with me. It felt like someone was placing a cape made out of lead over my shoulder one layer after another. I started to have less and less energy as I trudged through my workout routine. In the end, I just didn’t want to do anything physical anymore.

In retrospect, I think I overestimated my ability. I was a lot fitter when I was playing ice hockey twelve months ago, and the memory of me then made me unrealistically optimistic about the speed of regaining fitness.

Ugh, taking baby steps is not my thing, I sighed. Yet, I was so moody and irritable when I was at rock bottom with my fatigue. It was so severe that I didn’t even have energy or patience to play with Bella at length. She looked confused, frustrated and sad. What is the point of keeping on punishing myself if it is no longer fun and fulfilling?

So what is your solution?

I will never neglect you ever!

Another thing I have changed about my fitness regime is paying attention to my body more. The amount of the exercises should be increased / decreased depending on how I feel each day. I should never be too tited to be caring to my family and friends.

I also bought this for Hubbie and me…

A free standing punch bag by Lonsdale!! Unlike conventional punch bags which are suspended from the ceiling, this punch bag has a heavy base. Hubbie did countless trips to the bathroom to fill up the base so the punch bag will not topple when he throws heavy punches.

My workout pals…

Boxing gloves, hand weights and water!

Initially, the punch bag was solely for Hubbie’s stress management. However, I have discovered that throwing punches is surprisingly liberating and satisfying. Hitting at it with a timer app downloaded on my iPhone has added fun to my workout routine, and I love it!

Hope it will help me to make my upper arm lean, mean and ripped by the summer…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

A Car Wreck Today…

I don’t know what has happened to my blog format. Font size went crazy and I have no idea how to fix it! I looked into WP’s setting page but there wasn’t any trouble-shooting for my problem (or I missed it because it wasn’t obvious?). Anyway, I will keep on looking for it when I don’t feel like a car wreck. 

In fact, I am living with perpetual muscle fatigue recently. Last night was a team practice (ice hockey!) and I am feeling the effect (or damage) of it right now, especially on my legs. It has become cruelly apparent that it is not possible to reciprocate the fitness level I enjoyed when I was in my teens & 20s no matter how hard I train. I can push myself but how I recover from it is another matter. However, I am still holding on to the towel, not throwing it in. Because I just can’t give up loving hockey! 

Happiness is…

a crowded changing room shared with my beautiful teammates…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

P.S. The font seems to be normal now! The previous post was written in a different memo app and it was cut & pasted into WP app. This action must have messed up the format. Anyway, I am glad the problem is solved!😄

Fit For Life…

Is it jet lag?
Ever since being back from Japan, I wake up very early and feel dead-tired in the afternoon. It has been affecting me so much that If I am not disciplined, I will climb into bed in no time and fall asleep instantly! Having said that, the time I open my eyes is nudging closer to more sociable hours every morning. Therefore, I should be truly back in UK, mentally & physically, very soon.

Thinking about one’s equilibrium, there was an occurrence which made me realise how important to keep your mind & body active in order to lead a healthy & fulfilling life.
It happened on one cold but dry evening in Nagano, I took my mum and aunt for dinner in downtown. Instead of ordering a cab, we decided to walk to the bus-stop on Daimon through Zenkō-ji since we needed to work up our appetite…


On a way to Zenkō-ji, mum & I were shocked to discover how frail my aunt had become.
Despite the fact she was 3 years younger than mum, a sedentary lifestyle she had been leading for the past few years clearly took its toll. Her stride was a shuffle and her balance was precariously bad. ‘Shall we catch a cab?’, I was worried if she might stumble and hurt herself. Aunt paused and then expressed how dismayed she was about her own physical state, ‘I am so unfit!’
Unfortunately, there was no taxi or bus due to a traffic restriction around Zenkō-ji compound so we kept on walking slowly. Time to time, mum lent her elbow to aunt when they had to negotiate uneven & slippery parts of the promenade…


Over the dinner, aunt vowed that she would amend her lifestyle for the sake of regaining fitness.
Unlike Tokyo’s or London’s, Nagano’s winter is harsh. The mercury in the city plunges the lowest amongst any other areas’ except Hokkaido. Therefore, it is not always easy to stick to one’s fitness regime, even for the one, fit as a fiddle.
During my stay in Nagano, I tried to go for a walk as often as the weather permitted. Donning a few layers of clothing and a pair of sheepskin insoles in my boots, I still had to steel myself against icy air every time I open the front door. With the winter climate being so inhospitable, I could understand why my aunt decided to stay indoor all day.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll find a way somehow’, aunt reassured me while sipping a small glass of sake. Concerned mum reminded her over and over how she must be patient but also diligent when it came to getting fit. She was worried if aunt would do too much too soon and hurt herself. Knowing her tendency to be reckless, mum’s apprehensiveness was perfectly legitimate.
Oh well, I shall give aunt a call time to time so I can check on her progress and also give my encouragement. Being fit & active physically as well as mentally is a key to our daily happiness and we all must thrive for it no matter how slow the progress may be…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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