Wicklow gets ready to be a Healthy Town
Collaboration between The Irish Times and Pfizer Healthcare, aims to harness local community spirit and expert knowledge to show how simple, practical changes can lead to a healthier life
Chef Catherine Fulvio and Irish rugby star Leo Cullen help launch The Irish Times/Pfizer Healthy Town initiative in Wicklow town. Photograph: Julien Behal/Maxwells
An innovative health initiative will be launched in Wicklow this evening.
Healthy Town, a collaboration between The Irish Times and Pfizer Healthcare, aims to harness local community spirit and expert knowledge to show how making simple, practical changes can lead to a healthier life.
Irish international and Leinster rugby captain Leo Cullen has agreed to be a sporting ambassador and will be involved in some of the events.
This is the second year for the project. Last year The Irish Times and Pfizer ran the healthy town initiative in Kilkenny, which proved very popular. This year, a number of new elements have been added.
The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) will be conducting free health checks for various groups as well as several public ones, where anyone can come along and get their cholesterol, blood pressure and so on checked out.
There will also be a number of shopping events where an IHF dietitian will accompany shoppers around a supermarket to advise on what healthy choices they could make.
Already a number of local sporting organisations have offered to hold open events where people can come to try a sport free, to see whether they would like to take it up.
Wicklow town lord mayor Malcolm Earls, a keen sportsman and runner himself, will be organising a fun run.
He says Wicklow is an ideal town for a health programme because as well as a new port road with 5km of track for cycling and running, it has an abundance of other amenities and active clubs including an athletics club, football and GAA clubs.
The organisers stress that although Wicklow is the focus of the programme, it is accessible for anyone to take part in or follow.
A dedicated area on irishtimes.com will feature informative articles and videos. An eight-week programme, designed to help you reach a level of fitness, has been drawn up by the Irish Institute of Sport, which trains high-performance athletes.
The exercises are demonstrated by Irish Olympian boxer and schoolteacher Darren O’Neill and were devised by the institute’s high-performance unit.
Exercise without injury
There is also video by Aidan O’Neill, of Pearse Street Physiotherapy Clinic in Dublin, who worked with Ireland’s Olympic squad in London last year. He is demonstrating how to exercise without injury.
A number of other videos will be published over the weeks of the programme
Health + Family will carry articles on Healthy Town events each week.
The website is at irishtimes.com/healthytown.