Farm Ireland

Tuesday 26 March 2019

We're fitter and faster says farmer health group with no plans to give up meat

Laura Tully approached the local IFA before Christmas to start the six week farmer workshop.
Laura Tully approached the local IFA before Christmas to start the six week farmer workshop.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A group of “Fit Farmers” who have come together to beat the bulge say the initiative has improved their physical and mental wellbeing but that they won’t be giving up meat anytime soon.

The 25-strong group was set up in the rural village of Moore, Co Roscommon by native and Athlone IT nurse and health centre coordinator, Laura Tully, at the start of January.

One of the farmers involved, Padraig Carty who has lost 12 pounds told the Newstalk Pat Kenny Show that he had concerns attending the first workshop but knew it would be banter and is feeling the positive effects already.

“I was wondering would I be able to do it. I enjoy it. I thought I wouldn’t have time to do these things but there’s always time. I’m getting fitter. I feel it myself. I can play with my sons. I went out to a birthday party the other day and had a game of soccer. One time after five minutes I’d be gone,” he said.

Padraig explained that he has made slight changed to his diet but has no plans to reduce his meat intake.

“My food and everything has changed. I’ve changed to brown bread and have cut out the white bread. I’m eating more biscuits and watching what I’m eating and eating less.

"I haven’t changed from eating beef or anything like that, that hasn’t changed at all, we haven’t gone that way at all. I’ve lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks, my goal would have been to lose a stone,” he said.

Farmer Tom Rafftery (62) added that his daughter living in Australia bought him gym membership but he kept putting it off but said the health workshops have been an eyeopener.

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"I knew myself I was getting a bit older and putting on a bit of weight. I was a little bit apprehensive at the start but I’m getting on very well and have no qualms about it now.

"I’m more relaxed now. Four or five nights a week we go for a four or five km walk and try keep up with one another, some are better than others, some run , some walk fast and slow but we’re all doing it.

“We listen to a doctor who talks about diet, calories and weight loss. I got a shock at the amount of sugar in bars. You never think it when you’re eating your Mars Bar, it’s lovely. You never think of the seven, eight or nine spoons of sugar in it," he said.

Laura Tully approached the local IFA before Christmas to start the six week farmer workshop and while there was resistance at the start she said they soon came on board when she told them the programme could help change their lives for the better.

“Each year try I to target a new group in the community for the workshops and each year I found the farmers most resistant to join in on our activities and essentially when we were power walking down the road these guys were beeping the horn driving their jeeps as well but having a secret laugh at us in our high vis gear,” she explained.

She pointed out while farmers were apprehensive at the start and didn’t think they could spare the time, she said when she told them “that there are 168 hours in the week and you can at least take two of those for yourself” that their “apprehension started to melt away”

Ms Tully said that some farmers have told her that the group has helped reduce their feeling of isolation and has given a new purpose to their day.

"To hear somebody say that they have found the art of conversation become easier, that they feel included and part of a team is very rewarding. One man was telling me one night as we were walking that it has given him a new purpose and structure to his day. He would have been telling me that he felt in a very low mood and isolated before.

“I can see guys have gotten faster, firmer, leaner. They are certainly happier in their appearance and are more outgoing. There’s a massive difference in the six weeks at what,” she added.

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