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'I was at my fittest and healthiest when I hit 50 - I did it for my son' - Norah Casey

Businesswoman and broadcaster Norah Casey never made exercise a priority in her busy life, she tells Emily Hourican. However, after her beloved husband passed away, she reached a low point and reveals that walking and then more strenuous forms of exercise have turned her life around

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Norah Casey pictured on one of her favourite trails at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Exercise is a big part of Norah’s life now, at 60. Photo: Frank McGrath

Norah Casey pictured on one of her favourite trails at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Exercise is a big part of Norah’s life now, at 60. Photo: Frank McGrath

Norah Casey out for a cycle

Norah Casey out for a cycle

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Norah Casey pictured on one of her favourite trails at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Exercise is a big part of Norah’s life now, at 60. Photo: Frank McGrath

'I didn't grow up as a sporty child," says Norah Casey, businesswoman, about the long route towards exercise she has taken. "Sport wasn't a big thing in my school - I think we played netball, and that was it - and I wasn't part of a team outside school. But, because I grew up in the Phoenix Park, I had the whole of the park as my back garden."

There were, Norah says, eight people - six children and two adults - in a three-bedroom house; "the door was opened every morning, and we just raced out. My father and grandfather were rangers, so there wasn't an inch of the park I haven't run around and explored, on foot or by bike. It was a very healthy childhood, almost like living in the country."

However, life didn't stay so healthy. After school, Norah first became a nurse. "We walked miles every day," she says. "It's very painful on your feet, it wrecks your back, and there's no spare money for going to the gym. In those days there were so few staff on the wards," she recalls, "I still have lower back pain from all the lifting and shunting. I was often on my own in the wards at night, and there were none of those ergonomic lifts you have now. If you are on your feet all day for a 12-hour shift, you don't come home and go to the gym."