Let’s get se­ri­ous about our health

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Food - Clodagh Finn

WHEN it comes to his health, Of­faly co­me­dian Neil Delamere is deadly se­ri­ous. Well, sort of. He’s still full of wit and smart one-lin­ers, yet he is not tak­ing his role as this year’s Pfizer Healthy Town am­bas­sador lightly.

He says the ini­tia­tive is an ex­cel­lent way to re­mind peo­ple of the wealth of ac­tiv­i­ties that are avail­able in their area, and it’s a way of en­cour­ag­ing them to do an NCT on them­selves.

“I’m like most peo­ple in that I don’t keep up to date with all the new av­enues that be­come avail­able for liv­ing a bit health­ier so any­thing that can keep us in­formed of the choices avail­able is a good thing,” he tells Feel­good.

Tul­lam­ore has been named 2017 Healthy Town as part of a pro­gramme spon­sored by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Pfizer that aims to en­hance the health and well­be­ing of Ir­ish com­mu­ni­ties.

This year’s theme is ‘My Mind, My Body and My Heart’ and, in the au­tumn, there will be a series of health checks and sem­i­nars as well as a Healthy Town Hub, show­cas­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tions, groups, and clubs in Tul­lam­ore that of­fer health and well­be­ing-re­lated ser­vices.

Since the pro­gramme be­gan six years ago, Ir­ish Heart has pro­vided over 1,100 free heart checks to help peo­ple re­duce their risk of heart dis­ease and stroke, Ire­land’s two big­gest killers.

“Mak­ing small changes to your life­style, such as diet and be­com­ing ac­tive, can add up to big ben­e­fits — adding years to your life,” said Ja­nis Mor­ris­sey, Head of Health Pro­mo­tion, Ir­ish Heart.

Speak­ing of diet and ex­er­cise, Neil Delamere says Of­faly was a great place to grow up. “I seem to re­mem­ber hav­ing a rea­son­ably healthy ado­les­cence, too. I tried my hand at var­i­ous sports and soon re­alised my deeply lim­ited ath­letic prow­ess wasn’t suited to many of them. I had great craic giv­ing it a go, though, and played rugby, did Kenpo and even swam for the county. It does have to be said, swim­ming for Of­faly at the time was like play­ing Gaelic foot­ball for Mozam­bique. The com­pe­ti­tion wasn’t fe­ro­ciously in­tense.”

His sis­ter, how­ever, rep­re­sented Ire­land at un­der­age level in fenc­ing. “I was mas­sively im­pressed by her skill with a foil. Our house was al­ways full of in­ter­est­ing fenc­ing for­eign ex­change stu­dents from be­hind the Iron Cur­tain.”

These days, he still tries to fo­cus on health, and ex­er­cises reg­u­larly. “I play in­door foot­ball weekly — and weakly — and have been known to fre­quent a spin class on a rare oc­ca­sion. I mean the very rare oc­ca­sion. Think, Hal­ley’s-Comet-ap­pear­ing rare!”

He also tries to fol­low a healthy diet, but that can be dif­fi­cult with the pres­sures of tour­ing. “Break­fast is of­ten eggs, nearly al­ways eggs. Scram­bled or poached or Kinder. I’ll have a bit of av­o­cado if there is any in the house — there is never any in the house. They don’t sell it in a Maxol — and some salmon.”

He batch-cooks for con­ve­nience. A good chilli or home­made curry are of­ten on the menu.

As for guilty plea­sures, choco­late tends to be his big down­fall: “I try to avoid it for as long as pos­si­ble on any given day. When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. Then, I eat the wagon wheels. When I die, St Peter will meet me at the pearly gates, say ‘hi’, in­form me they’re made en­tirely of Fer­rero Rocher and I have to eat my way through them. Happy days.”

All the same, he says he’s de­lighted to be this year’s Healthy Town am­bas­sador be­cause a com­mu­nity has the power to in­flu­ence its mem­bers pos­i­tively.

“You only have to look at Ir­ish peo­ple who move to Aus­tralia and im­merse them­selves in a beach culture to see the ef­fects. Closer to home, every year Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion on TV en­cour­ages peo­ple to walk and run. The army of high-vis jack­ets walk­ing the coun­try’s high­ways and by­ways is tes­ta­ment to their ef­forts.”

He is en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­body in Tul­lam­ore, and the wider Of­faly com­mu­nity, to make the most of the lo­cal clubs, groups, fa­cil­i­ties and re­sources in their home town. “A full list of events is avail­able on the Healthy Town Face­book page — so tell your fam­ily, friends, and neigh­bours and be part of it in 2017,” he says.

Pic­ture: Conor Healy Pho­tog­ra­phy

ALL SMILES: Of­faly na­tive Neil Delamere and Beau Rose cel­e­brate the an­nounce­ment that Tul­lam­ore, Co Of­faly, is the Pfizer Healthy Town 2017.

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