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Me and my health: Sandra Leo discusses her lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 44-year-old RADAR centre manager lives in Whiteabbey with her partner Joanne.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

A: I used to play a lot of sport but now my exercise routine revolves around walking with our terrier cross Yorkshire pup Molly. We adopted her from the Dogs Trust and since then getting out walking has encouraged me to take part in a half marathon - the last one I did was eight years ago and I thought I would never do another. All three of us are in training now - even Molly.

Q: What was your worst illness?

A: Fortunately I have been very lucky with my health apart from the old cold and sporting injury.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: It's better now than it was and I believe in eating organic food for its health benefits, and it just tastes better. Although some items can be expensive, there are a lot more shops stocking it now so it's becoming more affordable. I lost over three stone in weight last year and it is like getting a new lease of life. There is so much more I can do now - it has made a world of difference. I feel better all over - a healthy body really is a healthy mind.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Skipping breakfast, but this is definitely something I intend to address this year.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I do both. But as a smoker I believe the move to banning smoking in workplaces, hotels and pubs was the right way to go. It must have been terrible for non-smokers working alongside their co-workers in the past with people puffing away round them. I have tried and failed to stop smoking many times but this year will be the year I quit. My colleagues at RADAR will be getting out the black lungs (smoke damaged) to put me off cigarettes. When it comes to drinking it is only on social occasions so it's rare, but being from the Republic of Ireland I am partial to a drop of Guinness - in moderation.

Q: Do you take health supplements?

A: Vitamin B as it adds an extra two hours to your day in terms of improved concentration - it is my absolute go-to supplement.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: With RADAR opening last year it was hard to find time to switch off as it was difficult to get out for long walks with the dog and Joanne. As I'm not local to Northern Ireland, when I do get time off I love getting home to see my family and friends across the border.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Pretty well, I sleep like a log - it takes a lot to wake me up.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Not getting old, but getting older as I am mindful of my health. We're all living longer now and it's talked about in a negative way when in fact we should appreciate having the older family members around. Years ago they may not have lived as long. I'm prepared for old age and am as fit as I can be.

Q: What is your go-to product or habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Probably taking vitamin B, but also having a healthy mindset which is centred and grounded. I love yoga for achieving this kind of stillness and balanced attitude to life.

  • The specialist £1.8m RADAR Centre, which opened in Belfast last year, uses interactive teaching methods to educate young people here about alcohol misuse amongst other issues. RADAR has teamed up with Diageo to raise awareness of the risks associated with underage drinking.

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