Get Active 2022

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The Southern Star | GET ACTIVE 2022

THE SOUTHERN STAR || JANUARY 2022

YOUR GUIDE TO A HEALTHY MIND, BODY AND SOUL

• PHYSICAL HEALTH • GET THE GEAR • MENTAL WELL-BEING .. AND LOTS MORE!

10 GREAT WEST CORK WALKS FOR 2022 1


GET ACTIVE 2022 | The Southern Star

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The Southern Star | GET ACTIVE 2022

Know your starting point In the midst of the initial enthusiasm when returning to, or indeed starting out on an exercise regime, people often forget that it’s really important to consider their overall health and well-being before they begin. Getting the most from a fitness plan means considering where you are starting from and what level of fitness you aspire to. GET SUSSED FIRST Getting checked out by a registered medical practitioner is extremely important when undertaking anything new that is likely to challenge your body over and above what it is used to. Your own GP, who is familiar with your medical history, should be the first port of call in this regard. Many local medical practices now offer top-to-toe health checks, and extensive assessments are also available from private medical facilities, where teams of health professionals are on hand to establish just how fit you really are. Many health insurance companies offer health checks as part of their policy options so it’s worth checking with your provider to see what you are entitled to. Proper professional, medical advice can allow you to avoid future breakdowns in health due to more strenuous activity levels present in your new routine. THINGS TO WATCH FOR Just some symptoms that may be encountered as a result of previously undiagnosed medical ailments during strenuous exercise include pain or discomfort in your chest, shortness of breath, persistently sore joints, generally feeling unwell, vomiting etc. If any of these, or other unusual symptoms are encountered during exercise, it would be wise to seek medical advice and rethink the intensity of your fitness routine until a stage in your overall fitness is reached where your body becomes capable of meeting your mind’s expectations. MIND OVER MATTER Preparing your mind for an increased activity workload will also be necessary. The mind is receptive to your body and vice-versa. In this regard, the consequences of overdoing your fitness regime can include moodiness, anxiety, depression, change in sleeping habits and bad practice in your exercise routine. The latter here can create something of a vicious circle – if you’re not training correctly, you’re not getting the desired results or you’re get-

ting injured, and this all leads to frustration and perhaps a lack of motivation. Mental health, along with bodily health, requires time and discipline to help improve your state of being, mitigate damage and prevent relapse. As with bodily health, sometimes professionals are required. Personal trainers and other services which design fitness programs and diet plans can be beneficial in getting yourself into a healthy routine where you aren’t going to be overstretching your limits.

WEST CORK

PHYSIOTHERAPY CHARTERED CLINICS

PHYSIOTHERAPY

REST & RECOVERY Professional athletes have long known the important place that rest has in any fitness routine. Giving your body and mind time to regenerate in the form of a regular sleeping pattern is vital in securing peak efficiency in both psychological and physical bodily functions. Lack of sleep and rest leads to an increase in the production of Cortisol (a stress hormone) and a decrease in the production of the human growth hormone which inhibits the pace in which the body can repair muscle. There are two states of recovery identified in fitness research: • Short-term recovery: This is the most common form of recovery and occurs within hours after an exercise session or event. Short-term recovery often involves low-intensity exercise such as walking. • Long-term recovery: This refers to recovery periods that are built into a seasonal training schedule and may include days or weeks in a year-long fitness programme. This kind of recovery best applies to those involved in high intensity sport. It is vital to note the importance of caution and restraint in implementing fitness regimes. The recommendation to seek the help and advice of professionals and doing prior research when aiming to improve your health through fitness, cannot be understated.

ACUPUNTURE ORTHOTICS SPORTS INJURY DRY NEEDLING

Fiona M.Collins

MISCP, CPPP, Lic. ACU Bandon: Riverview House Riverview Shopping Centre Clonakilty: GAA Club, Ahamilia Tel: 023 8844688 Mobile: 086 2784376 www.westcorkphysiotherapy.com 3

VHI, Laya Healthcare and Irish Life approved


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Seek out your true path West Cork is full of majestic walkways that meander through towns, villages, woodlands, fields, hills and valleys inland or along it’s spectacular coastline. Here are just ten great options to put on your list for 2022 2

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1 | Bere Island – part of the Beara Way

2 |Lighthouse Loop – Sheep’s Head

The Beara Way is part of the Beara-Breifne Way, a route that follows the march taken by Donal O’Sullivan Beare and supporters in 1603. In its entirety it is approximately 220km long, from Glengarriff to Kenmare and back. Interestingly, Bere Island is included and has two loops.

The full Sheep’s Head walking route is 93km long and includes a mix of old boreens, woodland and grassy paths, hills and quiet roads. It has been broken down into a number of shorter loops of varying lengths. The Lighthouse Loop Walk, taking in a visit to the iconic lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula, is must-do.

LENGTH/DURATION:

Ardnakinna Loop – 3-4 hours. East End Loop: 2 hours.

DIFFICULTY:

Both routes include roads and offroad terrain, with some hilly areas, suitable for moderate abilities.

DIRECTIONS:

Head for Castletownbere along the scenic Beara peninsula and take the short ferry trip to Bere Island.

LENGTH/DURATION:

4km, approximately 1-2 hours.

DIFFICULTY:

A hike with some rough and rocky terrain. A reasonable level of fitness required. Stick to the trail and be mindful of the weather, unprotected cliffs and boggy conditions.

DIRECTIONS:

Drive south west along Sheep’s Head until you reach Tooreen Turning Point car park (the furthest point by road on the peninsula). Waymarked by blue arrows.

3 | Knockomagh Hill – Lough Hyne A walk up Knockomagh Hill is worth it for the view from the top. Overlooking Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve, the hill is 197m high and the walk takes about an hour in total. There is a clear path through the wood to the top, with panoramic views from Galley Head to the east right out to Cape Clear and the Mizen Peninsula to the west on a good day. There are car park spaces at the foot of the hill, as well as nearer to the lake.

4| Carrigfadda Hill

Carrigfadda is located between Reenascreena and Drinagh, about 10km from Rosscarbery. Here amongst the forest lies a hill that is 313m high. There is a 7m high Marian cross near the top, from which, on a clear day, there are views of Galley Head, the Old Head of Kinsale, Mount Gabriel and Cape Clear.

LENGTH/DURATION:

1 hour approx.

LENGTH/DURATION:

Length/duration: 3.7km, 2 hours.

DIFFICULTY:

Easy to moderate. Some steep steps in places but generally suitable for most fitness levels.

DIFFICULTY:

A hill walk along a path with a strenuous climb towards the summit.

DIRECTIONS:

Head out of Skibbereen towards Baltimore and turn left (signpost for Lough Hyne) shortly after passing the golf club.

DIRECTIONS:

Directions: Start/finish at Carrigfadda Church car park outside Reenascreena. 4

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in West Cork 5 | Knockaphuca Loop – Fastnet Trails The Fastnet Trails comprise a range of short and long nature walks in the areas of Aughadown, Ballydehob, Lisheen, the Butter Road, Schull and Toormore. They cover a total distance of 80km. The Knockaphuca Loop, which starts in Goleen village is a great walk but a good test of ability and fitness. LENGTH/DURATION:

10km walk/hike and takes about three hours

DIFFICULTY:

Strenuous. The trail goes from sea level to the 237m summit of Knockaphuca. The loop is made up of road, grassy tracks, open mountain and rocky terrain.

DIRECTIONS:

Waymarked (red arrows, white background) from Goleen village on the Mizen peninsula.

6| Fuchsia Walk – Coppeen Waymarked Walks There are four themed routes, all starting and finishing in the village of Coppeen,.They vary from six to over 12km. The Fuchsia Walk is 6.6km long and the route is marked with red arrows. There is a viewing point en route where both Cork and Kerry hills and mountains can be seen. All of the Coppeen routes are along roadways, so care is advised. LENGTH/DURATION: Fuchsia Walk, 6.6km. DIFFICULTY:

DIRECTIONS:

Easy-moderate with gentle inclines. Mostly on quiet roads, with the exception of the last stretch which is on a main road, so take care and be aware of traffic.

7 8 | Drimoleague Heritage Walkways With a choice of six different routes, the Drimoleague Heritage Walkways offer something for everyone. One of the more challenging routes is the Mealagh Valley Walk from Coomanore to Kealkill. You will be immersed in history and heritage and will see mountains, woodland, a megalithic tomb and a stone circle. The Drimoleague Heritage Loop is an easier route starting in the village. The pathway to the Top of the Rock is steep on this walk but the views are worth it.

Starts and finishes in the village of Coppeen, north of Ballineen.

7| Long Strand Long Strand, which is in fact, a mile and a half long, is a treasure for walkers. There is plenty of space for the whole family for a nice beach stroll, with lots of meandering paths in the dunes if you’d prefer something with a bit more variety. There is a large car park next to the beach and there are multiple routes you can take from here. You can stick to just the beach, add on the loop around Kilkern Lake or extend your walk through Castlefreke Woods and visit the High Cross with views of Galley Head, Rosscarbery and beyond.

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Head west from Clonakilty for about 15 minutes along the N71 and turn off left shortly before reaching Rosscarbery. Drive through Ownahincha and up over the coast road for a couple of minutes – you can’t miss it!

Mealagh Valley Walk, 10km, 3.5 hours. Drimoleague Heritage Loop, 2 hours.

DIFFICULTY:

Mealagh Valley Walk is a challenging hike with some soft terrain so a good level of fitness/ability required. The Drimoleague Heritage Loop is shorter, but with some steep sections. Suited to moderate levels of fitness.

LENGTH/DURATION: Varies depending on the route you choose but the beach itself will take an hour approx. over and back. DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate.

DIRECTIONS:

LENGTH/DURATION:

DIRECTIONS:

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Mealagh Valley Walk – travel out of Drimoleague along Quarry Road for about 20 minutes to get to Coomanore Lake. Walk starts here and ends in Kealkill. The Heritage Loop starts at the Railway Yard in Drimoleague village. Both walks are waymarked.

9| Castle Walk – Kilbrittain Trails

10| Timoleague to Courtmacsherry – Seven Heads

Kilbrittain Trails include four different routes of varying lengths. The Castle Walk is 3.7km long, starting and finishing at the village of Kilbrittain, which is located between Kinsale and Clonakilty. The trail heads north and takes about one hour, along quiet roads with forest landscape and views of Coolmain Bay and Kilbrittain Castle. It is relatively flat and suitable for most walkers.

The Seven Heads Peninsula extends from Timoleague to Courtmacsherry, andaround to Dunworley Bay, Barryscove, Ardgehane and Ballinglanna. The entire distance is about 42.5km with lots of different walkways along it. A great one to start with is from Timoleague village to Courtmacsherry, along the old railway line. This walk is very flat, perfect for kids, bikes and buggies.

LENGTH/DURATION: 3.7km, one hour. DIFFICULTY:

Suitable for most fitness levels.

DIRECTIONS:

Start and finish in Kilbrittain village. The Castle Walk is waymarked with red signs. 5

LENGTH/DURATION: 10km, 1.5 hours approx over and back to the start. DIFFICULTY:

Easy, very flat

DIRECTIONS:

Head to Timoleague where you can park near the picturesque Abbey. From there,follow the path with the estuary on your left, making your way


Take a swing ... GET ACTIVE 2022 | The Southern Star

Niall O’Driscoll asks pro-golfer and Kinsale native John Murphy about golf and why he feels it is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities A cheeky one to begin with ... if someone is looking to become healthier and more active – and stay that way – why would you recommend golf?

Golf is a great way to socially interact, enjoy yourself and be active without even realising you are doing so. You go out and enjoy yourself whilst whacking a ball around for a few hours and all of a sudden, you have walked five miles. It is a great way of subconsciously exercising.

On a normal day (i.e. not in the run-up to a competition) what is your fitness regime? At home in the off season, I

would burn a lot of calories hitting balls and practising without knowing I am doing so. I must make sure my calorie intake is high to compensate for that. With regards to working out, I will typically work out six days a week and have a rest day. My gym sessions will very between mobility, strength/power and golf specific exercises.

Coming closer to a big competition, how might this regime change?

In tournament weeks, energy preservation is really important. I try not to neglect my strength and conditioning in tournament weeks, but I am certainly more conscious of being ready to perform to the best of my ability, and this often involves not burning myself out.

Can you explain the importance of rest as part of a fitness regime?

Rest and sleep are critical in terms of making sure your body and mind are ready to take on the next day. I try to make sure I listen to my body and understand when I need to just rest and recover, and when is a good time to push my body.

What was the biggest difference you noticed on making the transition from amateur to pro-golfer?

I tried not to change anything when jumping to the professional game, as I didn’t want to lose anything that I have worked towards for years. I find myself doing a lot of the same things as I did when I was an amateur. I find that top professionals are very confident in their routines, and do whatever they think is best for them, regardless of whether that is to rest, practise for a full day or spend the day working out. They seem to have a great grasp of what works best for them.

What, in your experience, is the thing that aspiring golfers tend to overlook most?

The value of actually playing golf. It is one thing being able to hit multiple good shots on the range, but doing it on the course is a different story. Standing on a tee box with visual intimidation on an actual golf hole is a lot tougher than standing on a range, and I think learning how to hit certain shots is certainly overlooked.

Any tips for golfers, or athletes in general, in terms of keeping their head in the game when the going gets tough?

When the going gets tough, I like to allow myself to feel emotions as opposed to trying to ignore them. It is natural for humans to be angry, disheartened and upset, but acknowledging this is very important. I allow myself to feel this way before moving forward. I scan my body, become self-aware of how I am feeling and then try to go from there, as opposed to building up negative energy and storing it in my body.

Who is your personal sporting hero and why?

Brian Corcoran and Sean Og O’Hailpin were my heroes growing up. I played a game of golf with Brian last year which I found pretty cool because I have a picture of him and I when I was 6 and he was signing an autograph for me.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

It’s never as good as you think it is, and it’s never as bad as you think it is.

Many athletes from other disciplines cite golf as an excellent complementary sport as part of their training. Does this go the other way around for you? In other words, do you take part in other sports to enhance your golf? I used to play GAA and loved doing so but it certainly wasn’t the most intelligent thing to do. For other athletes playing golf, there is little or no risk of getting injured. However, that relationship doesn’t work both ways. I would love to play other sports, but the risk is too high.

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Kinsale golfer John Murphy (23) turned professional last summer and finished a career-best ninth place in the worldfamous Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October. He has secured his Challenge Tour card for 2022.


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Keep going, but don’t overdo it either Physical and mental health are very closely related, but there is a fine balance to be struck if you want to achieve maximum benefits for both Exercise releases natural endorphins which can significantly boost mood, combating feelings of fatigue and helping people feel energised and healthy. Consequently, it’s one of the quickest ways of relieving stress – something we have become all-too-familiar with in the past couple of years of Covid-19. Physical activity can build feelings of competence and improve self-esteem. It helps people to sleep better. It can also boost your brainpower, enhancing concentration levels and improving alertness. In fact, these cognitive benefits can be extensive and long-lasting. It has been found that young people who run or take part in aerobic activity maintain their thinking and memory skills for middle age, while another study found physically active middle-aged people are at reduced risk of dementia in older age. Importantly, research increasingly suggests exercise can play a major role in treating depression. Active people are less likely to be depressed. Exercise reduces the risk of developing depression in the future. And while exercise might seem like the last thing you want to do if you are depressed, it’s important to remember that exercise has been shown to help ease depressive symptoms. Beat that anxiety As little as five minutes of exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Unfortunately, highly-anxious people often avoid vigorous exercise because it can bring on short-term discomfort. Physical exertion can cause the stress hormone cortisol to rise. Anxious people prone to panic attacks are extremely attuned to any increase in stress hormones and nervous system arousal. Automatically, the anxious brain misinterprets these changes as dangerous, leading to increased arousal which can escalate into a panic attack. As a result, panic-prone people often decide to ‘play it safe’ and avoid the gym or physical sports. However, while panic attacks can be very unpleasant and scary, they are not harmful. The threat is not real. The feeling of panic will pass. That’s why exposure therapy – gradually exposing yourself to feared situations – is central to the treatment of anxiety. The side effects of exercise – sweating, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing – mimic the physical symptoms of panic. In this sense, exercise can be a form of exposure therapy. By exposing oneself to feared physiological symptoms while exercising, the anxiety-sensitive person increases their tolerance for such symptoms. Exercise caution Exercise can be great, but not if you exercise for the wrong reasons. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with exercise, it may end up exacerbating existing mental health difficulties. Don’t take up exercise because you’re obsessing over your body image. Be aware that excessive exercise is a common symptom of eating disorders, with people carefully measuring how many calories they burned against how many they consumed. Exercising should bring on feelings of wellbeing, but some people beat themselves up for not doing more. Signs and symptoms to look out for include exercising primarily for the purposes of shape and weight; feeling compelled to exercise; continuing to exercise despite injury or illness; allowing exercise to interfere with work or socialising; and feelings of stress or guilt when unable to exercise. Enjoy yourself A key to a healthy exercise regime, both from a physical and mental perspective, is that it should leave you looking forward to your next session. It should be tinged with positivity for having done another workout or walk or whatever, and not tainted by negativity because you feel that you haven’t performed adequately. Equally, don’t beat yourself up if, from time to time you just don’t feel up to it. Listen to your body. We all have off-days, but as the saying goes: ‘It’s not how you fall, but how you get up, that matters.’ 7


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Get geared up! When it comes to getting the right gear for whatever type of activity you choose, the advice is to buy the basicbut-essential kit in the beginning. It doesn’t have to be super high-end as things can get very expensive, but at the same time don’t skimp on the quality either. Remember it’s for your comfort and safety ultimately. Here is an outline of what you’ll likely need across four of the most popular types of exercise

WALKING Footwear first. For roads/pavements, a pair of good,

supportive runners should serve you well. For woods, trails and low-level cross-country terrain, a pair of waterproof hillwalking shoes/boots will be a better option. If you progress to longer, heavier-duty hill and mountain hikes then you really should get a pair of good boots. In fact, most hill-walking groups insist on them. Proper soles for grip and comfort and waterproofing are essential qualities. Moving on from the footwear, It’s vital to have a waterproof jacket and over-trousers with you. You can get very light ones that pack up small and fit easily into a rucksack and are relatively inexpensive. If you intend to walk a lot and spend a lot of time on the hills it’s worth investing in higher spec waterproofs, with added features such as pit zips for ventilation and a storm hood. The best way to dress for hillwalking is to wear layers. A synthetic or merino wool base-layer worn next to the skin, will help wick moisture away from your body when you sweat and will dry quickly. Over this you can wear a fleece and on really cold days you might need a second heavier fleece or a down jacket. For all layering, it is recommended to avoid cotton as it holds moisture and once you get wet, you stay wet. On your legs, denim is a big no-no. Sports and outdoor shops sell walking trousers made from quick drying fabrics. Lycra leggings or running leggings are also a good option to get started. Hat, gloves and a neck-gaiter are essential for cold conditions, but should be with you year-round really – they’re small and light but could be just what you need if the weather changes or you’re out longer than you expect. In these times that we live in, neck-gaiters can serve a dual role as a face mask if you’re caught without one. A small backpack for longer hill walks is essential as you will need to bring an extra layer, a change of socks and the all-important picnic. Either buy a backpack

with a waterproof cover or pack your things in a plastic bag within your backpack to keep them dry on wet days. A backpack with a good back frame to facilitate air ventilation and better load carrying will probably make your wish list in time – maybe even on with a ‘water bladder’ for drinking water. Walking poles are essential for stability on uneven terrain and beneficial to anyone with back, hip or knee problems. If you plan on going walking/hiking in isolated areas or on rough terrain, please make sure to let someone know where you are going, when you’ll be back and be sure to have a fully-charged phone.

CYCLING Safety is paramount on the roads, so a helmet and hi-visibility clothing are essential. Lights –

front and rear – are also essential and best used in all conditions. It’s also important that your bike is in good condition, so get it serviced at least once a year if it’s getting regular use. After that, you can start looking at kit that makes the whole process more comfortable and efficient – cycling jersey, shorts, jacket (essential against wind and rain), cycling shoes, gloves, sunglasses and a good water bottle. These are the main items, but don’t forget a puncture repair kit (learn how to use it – there are plenty of instructional videos online), and maybe a bicycle computer or mobile phone app to monitor your miles and keep you motivated.

Main types of bike 1. Road bike

Frames: Carbon fibre, aluminium or steel. Turned-down handlebars. Tyres: 23-28mm (the width of the tyre as you look down from a cycling position). Pros: Fast and great performance. Cons: Can be uncomfortable at first.

2. Hybrid Bike

Frame: Steel and/or aluminium. Straight handlebars. Tyres: 30-35mm. Somewhere between those on a road bike and a mountain bike. Pros: Good for carrying loads (using carrier and pannier bags). Comfortable. Cons: Heavy and poor mobility. 8

3. Mountain bike

Frame: Carbon fibre, aluminium or steel. Straight handlebars. Tyres: Big, wide and hard-wearing. Pros: Comfort – (big tyres, suspension) Cons: Comparatively heavy and poor mobility.


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RUNNING By comparison to walking, running can be something of a minimalist pursuit when it

comes to gear. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some essentials though. Properly fitting trainers, laced securely and with good support/soles to avoid injury are the obvious place to start. It’s worth getting these right because if your feet hurt, then you can’t/won’t run. Of course, having the right footwear doesn’t just protect your feet. It also helps avoid stress/impact injuries to ankles, knees, hips and your lower back, while also helping prevent injuries from slips and falls. Following on from the trainers, breathable, snug socks are a must to help prevent blisters. Where applicable, you’ll need a sports bra for support. If you plan to run on roads or anywhere in the vicinity of traffic or other people, especially in darkening conditions, then high-visibility apparel, and a head and/or hand torch are essential. As always, safety first when it comes to yourself and others. As you get into your running a bit more, start looking for a watch with GPS, heart-rate monitor and distance counter or even just a notebook to track progress. Again, there are some great tracking apps like Strava that can really help with your progress and keep things interesting.

SWIMMING

Specialised swimming wetsuits are really worth it if you are going to be in for any length of time, apart from during the height of summer, perhaps. But they are also great protection from jellyfish. Swim wetsuits are specially designed to help you glide through the water, are lighter under the arms, and are very fragile so do use the cotton gloves if your suit comes with a pair. They take a bit of patience getting on and off, but they should feel like a second skin so it’s worth the hassle. Shops will advise on the best ones, based on your skill and objectives. Swimming socks come in various thicknesses, and give extra warmth as well as protection from sharp stones and similarly swimming gloves are great when the water is getting a little colder. Swimming caps come in various materials from silicon to something closer to a wetsuit and are an essential to keep your head warm. A great tip is to wear two light caps at once. You’ll get a tiny build-up of warm air between them, thus insulating your head nicely. Goggles should clasp snugly to your face without having to be over-tightened, as the suction should do the work rather than the strap. Tip – a rub of saliva on the lens will stop them fogging up.

Regular cold-water swimming can cause ear-aches and complications. It can also throw you off balance when you come in to shore. Invest in reusable ear plugs – they have the added bonus of keeping your inner ears warm. As a back-up in the early days or if you think you’re going to get tired, a snorkel isn’t a bad idea. It takes the stress out of getting your head out of the water to breathe. It’s better not to become overly reliant on a snorkel however. For safety and visibility, an inflatable high-vis float is essential for sea-swimming. It ties to your waist and floats behind you. You won’t notice it, but others will. They cost about €20 and are also a great buoyancy aid if you run out of steam. More expensive ones let you put car keys etc inside. Finally, When back on dry land, a fleece-lined swimming cape or coat will keep you warm while also making it easier to get changed. If you plan on going swimming – especially in open water – make sure to check the weather forecast and tides, check locally with regard to currents, and avoid swimming alone. As always, make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

• More gear tips on page 10 >>

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GET ACTIVE 2022 | The Southern Star

Go go gadgets! If you want to take your exercise performance to the next level, there is plenty of gear and technology out there which can help you do that. Here are five of the top picks for 2022. Sports Watch

Garmin is set to release the Fenix 7, a premium multiwatch, later this year. However, the Fenix 6 range already available. There’s the standard Fenix 6 model, while the Fenix 6S is slightly more compact. The Pro version adds music capability, maps and wi-fi connectivity. The 6X has the same features as the Pro but has a better battery life. The Pro Solar 6X is the top-spec watch in this range and boasts a super light, all-titanium body along with solar panels around the face’s rim that give an extra boost to battery life. The Fenix 6 range of watches will suit everyone from amateurs to pro athletes, whether you want it to track your walks or a triathlon, and you can even follow along to workouts on your watch screen. The prices vary based on the model, colour and strap type, with the Fenix 6 starting at €449.99 and the Pro Solar 6X starting at €729.99. See www.garmin.com for details

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Gym Shoes

Many gym and workout class-goers will wear their ordinary, run-of-the-mill runners which they also use for walking or running. The thing is, if you are doing strength-based exercises in the gym or in a class, you should wear specific shoes to suit the activity. The most important thing you need in a strength-training shoe is stability. Running shoes are typically quite spongey, which is great for running, but doesn’t provide you with the stability needed for things like squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings. Therefore, shoes for strength-training tend to be flatter, without the excess cushion in the sole, and have a sturdy heel. Nike Metcon Trainers are just one type of these strengthtraining shoes available. They provide support and stability, and come in a huge range of colours, starting from €129.99. Check out www.nike.com

Wetsuit

The Zone 3 Thermal Aspire Wetsuit is one of the warmest sea-swimming wetsuits available. With a thermal fleece lining, it maintains the body’s temperature as it is located around the key muscles and organs which lose the most heat. This lining is extremely soft and comfortable so not only does it help to increase core warmth, it also offers great flexibility and buoyancy. Having a wetsuit like this allows you to extend your open water swimming season as it is suitable in waters between 10-18 degrees Celsius. See www.zone3.com for more details. Priced at €499.95, this wetsuit, along with others, are available at Jelly Fish Surf Shop in Clonakilty. Wild Side Sports in Bandon also stocks a range of wetsuits.

Health Monitor

The WHOOP 4.0 is wearable technology that gathers data from your body all day long and gives you feedback via its app. It’s a wrist strap that is your 24/7 personalised fitness and health coach. If you want an insight into how your body works, this technology may just be the thing. It monitors your recovery, sleep, training and health, and gives you personalised coaching feedback and recommendations. The insights gained from this technology will help you to optimise your performance. One of the most interesting features is that it analyses metrics like heart rate variability and resting heart rate to determine a daily recovery score, showing you how specific lifestyle and training behaviours affect recovery. It recommends what sort of training you should focus on a given day based on your Strain score, which measures your training activities and daily effort, and it’ll recommend whether to rest or push that day. It also measures blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, heart rate and more. WHOOP works as a monthly membership, and you get the strap free when you join. It costs €30 per month, €24 per month for six months or €18 per month for 12 months. Buy online at www.whoop.com

Cycling Helmet

The Lumos Matrix helmet is designed to make cyclists highly visible to all other road users. There’s a customisable LED panel on the back which lights up, displays turn signals, and has automatic brake lights which warns traffic behind you when you’re coming to a hard stop. The turn signals can be activated through the Lumos remote or can be synced up with an Apple watch for gesture-triggered indicators. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, and it can be worn in rain, hail or shine. Prices start from €279.95. See eu.lumoshelmet.co for more information. 10


The Southern Star | GET ACTIVE 2022

ADVERTORIAL

Why not dip a toe in the Wild Atlantic Pool? The Wild Atlantic Pool and Leisure Centre in Baltimore is the perfect place for a winter warm-up! Local and friendly, the centre boasts a 16-metre pool, a jacuzzi, and a small but well-equipped gym. Swimming is a fantastic workout, and fantastic fun! If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to our staff about one-to-one lessons. For more proficient swimmers, we offer Masters’ swim sessions twice a week. Or, if you just want to do your own thing, there’s plenty of unstructured time to come for a dip. If you don’t fancy a swim, water walking is still great exercise, as it takes weight off your joints while still providing a cardiovascular workout, and water resistance helps build muscle. If you want something more energetic, we offer aqua-aerobics classes as well. Aquaaerobics are a great mood-lifter and an excellent way to get your heart-rate up and feel great for the day. Upstairs, there’s a fully-equipped gym, with treadmill, cross-trainer, stationary bikes and rowing machine, and both free weights and weight machines. We have Pilates classes each Wednesday, and Fit for Life, a class for gentle functional fitness, on Tuesday mornings. The pool is heated to around 30 degrees using eco-friendly technology, and the jacuzzi is a great remedy for winter chills. While the weather outside is frightful, take advantage of this facility on your doorstep, with special offers until the end of January on memberships paid up front.

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GET ACTIVE 2022 | The Southern Star

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GENERATION

Mix things up a little!

Talented young West Cork sportspeople to watch

DON’T MISS

Exercise is as important than ever, but let’s face it, sticking to the same routine all the time can become a bit monotonous. Lapping the same streets, listening to the same playlist – it can easily have a negative effect on your motivation. Sound familiar? Then it might be time for a change in your workout habits. Mixing things up can help to revitalise your mind and body, and cross-training with other sports can build strength and keep you injury-free. Here are some alternative exercises that are just as effective as running, walking or cycling when you’re in the mood for something a little different!

next week’s Southern Star for an eight-page special when we profile the next generation of West Cork sports stars

1. SKIPPING There’s a reason why bodybuilders and boxers start their workouts with a skipping session; it’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways to get a high intensity burn. According to one study (by the the British Rope Skipping Association), you can burn up to 1,600 calories in an hour jumping rope, and it’s a great way to build up your cardiovascular fitness too. 2. STAR JUMPS Star jumps are particularly effective as they’re plyometric exercises - explosive aerobic moves that challenge your muscles to their maximum potential in short periods of time. They also require your body to move out of its normal plane of motion, which can help to improve your mobility, as well as your speed, endurance and strength in one go. 3. KICK-UPS Challenging yourself to keep a football in the air is a killer workout for your quads, hamstrings and calves. Kick-ups also challenge your co-ordination and your balance, and hopping from foot to foot helps to activate the fast-twitch muscle fibres which are associated with building muscle, strength and power. 4. SHADOW BOXING You don’t need a bunch of expensive equipment to get a good workout from boxing. Shadow boxing, or the act of punching the air, can help you to work on your technique, all while fatiguing your chest, shoulder, arm and leg muscles in tandem. You’ll also be challenging your brain too, by working on your punch combinations alongside some technical footwork. 5. PLYO BOX JUMPS Got a sturdy wooden box or a garden bench? Thanks to their plyometric nature, box jumps are explosive calorie-burners, and they also work on your endurance, strength and co-ordination too. Add in a burpee between each jump to feel the full-body burn. 6. TRX If you’re able to get your hands on a TRX band, it’ll be your best friend for workouts. Even though you’re just using two basic suspension straps, there’s an infinite number of different moves you can do. If you’re looking to build lean muscle, it’s one of the best methods out there for full-body strength. Sling it over a sturdy tree branch and you’re good to go.

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7. BLEEP TEST If you’re looking to track your fitness progress, there’s no better method than the old-school bleep test. The method requires you to do a series of 20-metre shuttle runs in time with a bleep system, until the bleeps get too quick for you (there are lots of bleep test timer apps you can download). It’s a simple but powerful way to measure your VO2 capacity, speed and endurance. 8. DANCING If you’re not the type of person that enjoys drilling through bootcamp exercises, dancing is a great way to stay trim and increase your aerobic fitness, without feeling like you’re doing a workout. There are loads of great follow-along tutorials on YouTube, so whether you fancy street dance or salsa, there’s guaranteed to be something online to keep you moving, and can you think of anything better to do with the kids? 9. WALL TENNIS DRILL A brick wall is an ideal tool to train with if you don’t have a tennis partner. You’ll still be getting all the great health benefits of the sport - lower body fat, better metabolic function, increased reaction times. 10. KETTLEBELL SWINGS If you do happen to own a kettlebell, taking it out into the sunshine is a great way to blend gym work and the outdoors. Drilling through sets of kettlebell swings can help to increase your power, build better muscle endurance and get a full body burn. If you don’t have a kettlebell to hand, you can still get many of the benefits by swinging a bag of soil, a dumbbell or even a backpack bag full of heavy items (carefully).

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