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Me and my health: Downtown Country presenter Jason Hughes


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Busy schedule: Jason Hughes

Busy schedule: Jason Hughes

Jason Hughes and his son Charlie

Jason Hughes and his son Charlie

Busy schedule: Jason Hughes

The 41-year-old Downtown Country presenter is embarking on a tour of Ireland with his Garth Brooks tribute act. A CMI award winner who has toured Ireland, Europe and the US, he lives in Culmore, Co Londonderry and is dad to Charlie (10)

Do you exercise regularly and if so, what?

I don't exercise per se, but I try to do my 10,000 steps every day. I was running probably 5km a day until I hurt my knee about two months ago, but I'll be back to that very shortly.

When I'm doing my 10,000 steps, I think rather than use the escalator or the lift or if you're parking somewhere, just try and park that bit further away and make yourself walk those steps. That makes you have to do it. I live in a place called Culmore, just on the Donegal border, and we've got lovely fields, there's a good shoreline and great parks. I love walking there.

What is the worst illness you've had?

I had gallstones once and that was pretty painful - I was in hospital for a week. It was probably the worst pain I've ever had. I had lots of accidents when I was a child - cuts and stitches - but illness-wise I've been quite lucky.

Unfortunately my mum passed away eight years ago with cancer. Until somebody's in that situation you don't know what kind of services are out there or what's available. My father Jimmy and I have started the Northern Irish Cancer Care charity which transports cancer patients to and from hospital - we're a registered blue light ambulance service. What we aim to do is transfer cancer patients who aren't sick enough for an ordinary ambulance but are too sick to travel on public transport.

How healthy is your diet?

Probably not as healthy as it should be, to be honest. With doing what I do, sometimes you don't have time to be eating at a particular time, and sometimes you find yourself having one meal a day, knowing that it's not as good for you as it should be.

Any bad habits?

I've lots of bad habits, but none I can tell you about! Not really though - I'm not a smoker, and I only take the odd drink. I try to look after myself as best I can.

Do you drink and smoke/if so how much?

I don't smoke. I like an odd glass of wine or a beer once or twice a week, but with working and things, it's kind of hard to fit that in. I don't socialise as much as I would like to because of work as well. If you're out playing a gig, people think that's socialising but you're actually working.

Do you take any supplements?

I would try to take a multivitamin once a day and cod liver oil when I remember.

How do you take time out?

I enjoy time with my wee boy and I try to spend as much time with him as I can, going for walks and hikes or doing activities with him. We would do a lot of walking and he's mad into the outdoors and hiking up mountains and that type of thing. He loves making tools and things, so we'll make axes and prehistoric stuff that we can make out of stones.

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Jason Hughes and his son Charlie

Jason Hughes and his son Charlie

Jason Hughes and his son Charlie

How well do you sleep?

It all depends on what you've done that day - I find the more active you are that day, the better you sleep at night. One day varies to the next. I can't say I have sleepless nights. There's times in the past if I'd been out playing the night before and starting early on Downtown, having to be in for 6.30am, that I just went from the gig to the radio station with no sleep in between - that's the nature of the beast.

Do you worry about getting old?

I still think I am a teenager! Even playing with my wee boy, I love trying to beat him at races and jumping off walls and things. Sometimes you have to think when you're at the top of the wall, "God almighty, can I do this?" I love trying to keep young with him, running and playing about - "I'll race you from here to here". At the minute I'm still winning, but you never know what it'll be like in another couple of years.

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

I would drink fizzy water every day. It's just normal fizzy water, and I drink 2-3 bottles of that a day - I love it. I think if you have a busy mind, that keeps you healthy and sane. I am doing a bit of DIY - I'm not the best, but I'll have a go at anything. A busy schedule keeps you healthy and keeps you young.

Jason is playing two upcoming gigs with his Garth Brooks tribute - The Craic Theatre, Coalisland, on February 21 (www.craicartscentre.co.uk or tel: 8774 1100) and The Market Place Theatre, Armagh, on March 20 (www.visitarmagh.com or tel: 3752 1821)

Belfast Telegraph