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Me and my health: Ex-footballer Sara Booth's lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 40-year-old is a former Northern Ireland international footballer and captain who is now tournament director for UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship at the Irish Football Association. She lives in Lisburn.

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

A: Exercise is a big part of my life, having played football for 25 years - at international level for 20 of those years.

I stopped playing two years ago, so I needed to find something new and got a personal trainer, who I see three times a week for strength and conditioning. I know I am going to be pushed.

I needed to find a fitness regime which involved discipline to replace football, which is why I love going to a personal trainer.

I also go to a fitness boot camp once a week where I do lots of running, interval training and high intensity work outs such as pull-ups and push-ups as well as sprints and lunges.

Q: What's been the worst illness you have ever had?

A: I have problems with my lower back, having played sport for 25 years and as a consequence of running on concrete and 3D grass (fabricated grass surface). After that it's just the usual aches and pains.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Extremely healthy, as I am very fussy about what I put into my body. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and since I stopped playing football I have cut out carbs.

Now I substitute carbohydrate-rich foods for those high in protein such as eggs which I eat all the time. I also love salads, smoked salmon and sardines.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I definitely drink too much coffee and I love chocolate - dark chocolate, in particular. I cannot wait for Easter and all those Easter eggs.

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

A: I don't smoke, as it would have been bad for my fitness levels as a footballer and I don't really drink either, apart from the odd glass of bubbly.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: No, I don't take any, but I do eat protein enriched foods such as protein bars and the milk range now available which I have with my morning porridge everyday.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I am very family orientated so there is nothing nicer than hanging out with my nephews. Children have a great way of viewing the world and I love being with them. I do work hard so it is important to get some downtime away from that.

I like to get days out to places like Castle Espie where there is so much to do outdoors - family time is so important.

Putting my feet up in front of the TV is another good way to relax and I am currently enjoying the American crime drama Blacklist which is brilliant.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Usually very well. However, if I am feeling stressed, not so well.

Occasionally I can feel a bit overwhelmed which makes me restless. I get to bed about 10.30pm and am up at 6.30am.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No, not at all. I had a milestone birthday a few weeks ago and I have never been fitter or healthier in my life.

I am excited for the future and I definitely do not think about getting older - if anything, I embrace the idea of maturity.

I firmly believe that as you get older, things can only get better.

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

A: For me it has got to be exercise. Whether that is going for a run if I am feeling a bit stressed or going for a walk - that is the one thing that will make you feel better. Keeping physically active is what keeps me feeling healthy.

  • The UEFA Women's U19 Championship will be held here from August 8-21. Visit for more details

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