Health Scan: Willie O’Dea TD

Willie O’Dea: exercises by walking everywhere. Photograph: Alan Betson

Willie O’Dea: exercises by walking everywhere. Photograph: Alan Betson


Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle?
Basically I do, yes. It’s something I’m conscious of. When I’m at home in Limerick, I tend to walk most places and don’t use the car very much.

I try to get in a couple of miles every day at a fairly brisk pace. That can be difficult sometimes in Dublin but usually I succeed.

How often do you exercise?
I walk at a brisk pace and I tend to walk everywhere. My office would be a good 20-minute walk from my house and I could go for a three-mile walk then in the evening. It helps me to think.

I’m a bit old for soccer and rugby and things like that.
Do you get your five a day?

Vegetables aren’t my favourite food but I make a conscious effort to eat a certain amount of them every day. I just don’t really enjoy fruit though I wish I did.

Overall I’d say I’d get two or three a day. I like cabbage and sprouts.

Do you worry?

I worry an awful lot less than I used to. I tended to take things quite seriously at one stage in my career but I worry a lot less now.

I’m never kept awake with worries. I sleep very, very well.

When I do worry about something, it’s usually only for a very short period. I stand back and take a bit of perspective on it. That comes with age and experience.

What do you do to relax?
I like to watch sport and movies which I sometimes watch on the iPad – I like crime and period pieces.

I read biographies, military history, and political philosophers like Tony Judt and the occasional thriller like John Grisham.

What’s your unhealthiest habit?
I’m a moderate drinker but I have a terrible sweet tooth. I’ve an awful weakness for cakes and chocolate. I try to keep the intake low but I can’t completely avoid them. I’ve have some sort of thing I shouldn’t have every day.