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Me and my health: Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh on her lifestyle


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Keeping active: Niamh Kavanagh

Keeping active: Niamh Kavanagh

Keeping active: Niamh Kavanagh

The 51-year-old Eurovision winner is playing The Empire with The Illeagles on January 25, and is doing Date Night at the Theatre at the Mill with her husband Paul Megahey (62) on January 31. The couple live in Carrickfergus and have two teenage sons aged 16 and 18.

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

A: No day is complete without a walk. I do have a black Labrador who relies on our daily sojourn - however I realise that I need the walk as much as she does. On average I walk about 5-6km a day, depending on how much time I have. My friend and I are currently walking the Portuguese Camino over a few years. So this requires longer walks in the training - on average we do 24km per day during this. It is the very best thing you can do for both your physical and mental health - it's so good for the body and soul.

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

A: I have been lucky in my life, and not often been seriously ill. Apart from a flu I had a few years back and a tendency to anaemia, I haven't really suffered any major illnesses. I did have to have my thyroid taken out a few years ago because I had a large goitre that was starting to obstruct my airways. That was probably the most concerning condition I had because I could have lost the ability to sing, which would have hurt me professionally and personally because singing really is such a big part of who I am. Thankfully the operation was very successful and I have recovered beautifully.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Largely, my diet is reasonably healthy because I love to cook, so I don't eat processed very much. I adore vegetables and fish and will always try to find good locally sourced produce where I can. I have my vices, and I would say my worst one is portion size. I also have an aversion to anything that is not real butter. But so far that hasn't created any major problems for me.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: This is a funny question for me - I don't think I do, but I suspect my family may think otherwise. I have a tendency to become engrossed in things - maybe too focused - which is fine when it's a healthy thing but less so if it's something like being on my phone too much or if I decide I like eating ice cream. I can also run myself ragged if I take on too much. I am aware that I do this, so I do try to watch for the signs of this in my life and try to head them off at the pass.

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

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Keeping active: Niamh Kavanagh

Keeping active: Niamh Kavanagh

A: I don't smoke and I rarely drink. I'm not anti-alcohol, but because I got used to not drinking when I'm working and because I drive mostly, I don't really miss it. I will still dance on the tables with you till 2am but drive you home after. Best friend ever!

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: On occasion I will take some iron, and I heartily believe that taking a vitamin B complex supplement when you are feeling low can only help you. But I don't regularly need or take them. I think you should try to get as much out of your food as you can, and I drink plenty of water every day. I feel a lot of problems people suffer come from dehydration, especially as we get older.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Time out for me is all about quietness. Every day I have quiet time - no interaction, just breathing and emptying the brain. I love making a list. That helps the process, because I can acknowledge what needs acknowledged and move on.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Largely I sleep well, although menopause appears to be determined to change that. I used to be able to sleep anywhere for any length of time - however, I find it difficult to sleep past eight in the mornings now, no matter what time I go to sleep. But the quality of my sleep is usually good.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: It's futile to worry about something you can't change. I am getting older, but I rejoice that I'm still active and vital in my life and career. It's really only a number after all. I lament the ease of youth, but I embrace the fact that I don't have to be the same person I was, and in some ways it's easier, because I don't have to worry just as much about the small stuff.

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

A: Simply, water. It heals all.

Belfast Telegraph