Health Scan: Maureen Kavanagh


Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle? I have a moderately healthy lifestyle. I’m in my 50s, so I’m very conscious that if I take care of myself now, I’ll be adding years to the end of my life. Working with the members of Active Retirement Ireland has inspired me to take control of my health and wellbeing, because I’ve seen the positive effect that has on the ageing process.

How often do you exercise? I walk for about 30 minutes three times a week, but I’m aware that that’s not enough. I try to squeeze shorter walks into my schedule on the other days, such as walking to meetings instead of taking a bus, or getting off the bus or Luas a few stops early. Do you get your five fruit and vegetables a day? Between my main meals and snacking on fruit, I certainly do. I used to make myself a smoothie every morning but then I learned how high in sugar they were, so now I just eat the fruit as nature intended. Do you worry? Of course I worry; I have a family. It’s important, though, not to internalise your worries. I talk to friends and family. This social contact is vital for mental wellbeing. Isolation and loneliness are very damaging to the health of older people, and social activities are important to combat this.

What do you do to relax? I meet with friends for a drink once a week. I also enjoy walking in our local park and I love getting my morning coffee away from the office in the hour before I start work.

What’s your worst habit? I can’t walk past the door of Marks & Spencer. I think it’s an addiction, and I’m looking for help. Retail therapy doesn’t seem to work.

Maureen Kavanagh is the chief executive of Active Retirement Ireland, a national network of associations that work to ensure retired people maintain a full and active life.

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