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Me and my health: Professor Adam Hart on his lifestyle


Healthy outlook: Professor Adam Hart

Healthy outlook: Professor Adam Hart

Healthy outlook: Professor Adam Hart

Professor Adam Hart (46) is a biologist and Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire, where he lectures on the Biosciences degrees. He is married with four children. As well as teaching and science communication activities, he undertakes scientific research, studying animals in the UK, and ecology and conservation in southern Africa.

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

A: I do like to stay active but it is not always that easy to fit in. My main exercise is walking and I'm lucky to live in the countryside with some great walks on my doorstep. My eldest daughter is a big fan of a walk too, which means I have to make time to fit them in. Being a biologist, and much more at home outside than in the lab, I'm a keen nature fan and that also helps to make sure I get out and about. My dad lived most of his life with a bad back and that's something I want to avoid. I used to climb quite a bit when I lived in Sheffield and I got into the habit then of doing daily pull-ups. I still make sure I fit in a few sets of those more-or-less every day, and so far I seem to have escaped the family "back curse".

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: I've been very lucky and I've never really been that ill. I did once eat some dodgy oysters and the next day was pretty awful. I was supposed to be a judge in a debating contest in Bristol but when I arrived there it was clear that wasn't going to happen. The subsequent drive back home to Gloucestershire was not the most enjoyable drive I've ever had.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I'd say pretty healthy. My family history tends towards obesity and so I have always been reasonably careful about what I eat over the long-term, without worrying too much about it. My wife has a Masters in Human Nutrition and we both really enjoy cooking and good food, which I think helps a lot in keeping a sensible overall balance.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I rarely have a good start to the day food-wise and by 11am I'm often quite hungry. I have to work hard to avoid chocolate bars at that point.

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

A: I used to smoke in my teens and 20s but I quit when I was 26. I enjoyed smoking if I'm honest, but I'm very glad to have been a non-smoker for 20 years. I enjoy a drink, and I have certainly overdone that at times in my life, but early mornings with young children don't mix well at all with late-night drinking, so the last decade or so has been much more moderate than previous decades. Nowadays, I enjoy a couple of cold beers, or a glass or two of red wine for sure, but I know how to stop.

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: I have never felt that I actually need them, but also I am very bad at remembering to take pills.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I do like to read and walk and that all sounds very cerebral, but I also hugely enjoy vegging out in front of some TV, whether that is good TV (I'm just watching the West Wing full box set) or bad TV (I'm a sucker for reality shows).

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I've always been lucky in that I can get to sleep very quickly and generally stay asleep until five minutes before the alarm, regardless of when it is set. Young children play havoc with sleep though, and I've had a fair few years where five hours of broken sleep was a good night. When that happens, being able to go to sleep quickly is definitely an advantage.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Not yet. As they say, getting old is bad but the alternative is worse.

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

A: Broccoli. I love it, and I'm always snacking on it raw straight from the fridge. If I'm ever cooking with it I have to go and buy extra!

Professor Hart's latest book Unfit for Purpose is all about how our evolutionary history conflicts with our modern lifestyles and modern world. He'll be talking about it with Emer Maquire on February 21 at 6pm as part of the 2021 NI Science Festival - find out more at nisciencefestival.com. Follow him on twitter @adamhartscience

Belfast Telegraph

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