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Me and my health: Shea McAleer on his lifestyle

By Stephanie Bell

Shea McAleer is head physiotherapist at the National Sports Injury Clinic at Kingsbridge Hospital, Belfast, working with the IFA, GAA, the Belfast Giants and students on the Elite Athletes Programme at Queen's University. Shea (36) lives in Carryduff with his wife Seaneen, and two daughters, Rosa (4) and Cora (3).

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

A: I try to exercise at least three to four times a week, including running, which is a combination of road, treadmills and forest trails. I have recently joined a local running club to help me, hopefully, compete in some half and full marathons in the future. It is quite challenging to fit exercise into a very busy work and family lifestyle, but I think exercise is essential in helping to provide you with the physical energy to work at the level required and to manage stress.

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

A: I have been incredibly lucky in that I have never had an illness of note - apart from head colds and the flu.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I try to keep my diet as healthy as possible. I try to stay away from eating large quantities of processed foods and try to get a balanced diet, with the correct calorie intake to match my output. Again, I am very conscious of the benefits that having a good-quality diet and hydration can have on your concentration levels and mental performance during my work as a physiotherapist and everyday life.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I occasionally do not organise my week to enable me to complete the three to four fitness sessions I would like to fit in, whether that be a strength, or cardiovascular, fitness session. I do also go to bed too late, especially midweek, meaning my sleep duration and quality can be affected.

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

A: I recently gave up alcohol as part of my New Year's resolutions and I am still going strong at this stage. I have never smoked.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I only take health supplements if I am unwell and need a boost of something, but do not routinely take them. I try to ensure my diet is of a good quality that will give me the same gains as health supplements.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I have two young daughters, so I find spending quality time with them is a great way to completely switch off from work. I have fallen into the trap of trying to answer emails and work calls when I'm with my kids, but that never works, so I prefer to be 100% at home when I am not working. I find running and doing gym sessions is a great way of switching off completely, which is very important.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: By the time our two young daughters have been put to bed, I am pretty much spent, so I have no problems sleeping.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I am conscious of ensuring my current lifestyle, physical activity levels, diet and work/life balance are such that I can help lower my risk of developing illness as I grow older, but I am someone who focuses and worries about what we can control; unfortunately, growing old is not one of them.

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

A: Regarding products, I recently purchased a GPS watch, catering to running, which has really helped me gain an insight into and heightened my interest in long-distance running, which will hopefully keep me involved for the long-term. The main habit that keeps me feeling healthy, I think, is trying to eat a healthy diet, but probably the most powerful factor is regular exercise.

I find the days that I have exercised in the morning before coming to work are by far my most productive and enjoyable. Lastly, maintaining a positive outlook on all things, both in work and general life, is crucial and a critical factor in being successful in whatever you are trying.

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