Me and my health: opera singer Ailish Tynan on her lifestyle
The 44-year-old renowned opera singer, who is originally from Mullingar but lives in London, is performing at the Clandeboye Festival this weekend. She is married to Keith (52) and mum to Daisy (2).
Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
A: I have a little Jack Russell called Jack. He's an energetic boy so he has a walk every day for at least an hour or so, which gets me out and about a bit every day. I love to cycle too, although it's a bit tricky in the hectic streets of London. I do try to get out for a 10k cycle a few times a week... some weeks are better than others!
Q: What is the worst illness you've had?
A: I honestly can't even remember - touch wood - I've been so lucky with my health. Being a singer, your body and your voice are such an essential part of your work, so I've been lucky never to have been out of action due to my health.
Q: How healthy is your diet?
A: It's a disaster zone. I love my food and anything goes. I've been trying to cut down on the carbs and sweets with the summer holidays coming up, but the warm weather leads to an abundance of opportunities for an ice cream, so it's all gone to the dogs ...maybe the autumn will bring a new health kick!
Q: Any bad habits?
A: I'm sure my husband would be delighted to fill in my bad habits section! I love ice cream and chips, a lethal combination for the waistline. When we come back to Ireland for the Clandeboye Festival each year, we stay by the sea in Bangor, so it would be rude not to have a bag of chips and an ice cream by the water, wouldn't it?
Q: Do you drink and smoke, and if so how much?
A: Smoking would be absolute vocal suicide for a singer so, no, I don't smoke to preserve my voice. Since Daisy came along, I now only really drink very rarely and in moderation. The thought of having to run around after a two-year-old while coping with a hangover may have something to do with my almost teetotal lifestyle at the moment. Though the occasional glass of wine, or gin and tonic have their own health benefits for sure!
Q: Do you take any supplements?
A: I do - I'm the supplement queen. Most singers are pretty neurotic about their health as if we get sick we have to cancel concerts, and sometimes months of preparation can have been a total waste if a cold comes along and we lose our voices. It's particularly important when you're doing an opera or a show as you're on stage every day (sometimes twice) with a whole cast, crew and opera house full of people depending on you to deliver. There's a lot of pressure to ensure you're fit, healthy, and able to perform to the best of your ability every night - so I do what I can to try and keep myself vocally, physically, and mentally fit. The show must go on!
Q: How do you take time out?
A: I love hill walking. There's really nothing better than that feeling of satisfaction when you reach the top and it's time for your picnic, though it's a little trickier now we have a little one with us. I still try to get up a few hills every now and again, though. Spending time with my family is probably my favourite way to relax and unwind - that's my main way of taking time out.
Q: How well do you sleep?
A: In the last two or three years between pregnancy and the early years with Daisy, it's been pretty hopeless what with night feeds and nappy changes. But it's just starting to get back to normal now which is a huge relief. I always remind myself that they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture when I'm walking around in a daze after a night of teething or a fever. Fingers crossed, those days are over, and I can finally get my sleep cycle back to normal again!
Q: Do you worry about getting old?
A: No - my mother is 86 and she is the most energetic, lively, full of fun person I know! Age is definitely only a number, and you're only as old as you feel. If I'm anything like my mum is at 86, then I'll be happy.
Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
A: I love krill oil as a supplement. It's great for your joints and can also help to improve your heart health. I'm a big fan of curcumin too. It's a potent anti-inflammatory which can help stave off heart disease, Alzheimers, and some cancers. Both are pretty easy to add in to your everyday routine, so they're my go-to.
Ailish performs at the Home Sweet Home afternoon recital and the evening concert at the Clandeboye Festival this Sunday, August 18. The festival runs from August 16-24 at Clandeboye Estate near Bangor. Details are available at www.goh.co.uk/clandeboye-festival