Sunday 13 October 2019

How I stay fit: Derval O'Rourke

Derval O'Rourke: Be consistent with your fitness routine
Derval O'Rourke: Be consistent with your fitness routine

Caroline Foran

Fit foodie and former Olympic athlete (sprint hurdler to be exact), Derval O'Rourke is adamant about getting her 20 minutes of exercise a day. "I feel really strongly about this. Most of us live very sedentary lifestyles, so moving daily is very important." That might be a walk, it might be running around doing errands, but "outside of that I generally train four times a week. I run twice and lift weights twice. My sessions are rarely longer than 30 minutes." For Derval, and for many other former athletes, "it's all about the quality over quantity".

For the columnist and health food author, exercise has never been about weight or aesthetics: "I love feeling physically strong. I like to be able to feel good; when my body is fit and strong I feel really good."

An advocate of the stress-busting nature of exercise, Derval turns to her 30-minute workout for a chance to "switch off, de-stress and focus on something physical whether that's lifting weights or going for a run. I love that it gives me some head space from the stresses of everyday life".

Like Nicky Byrne - we're sensing a theme here - Derval is all about the squat. "Squats, squats and more squats. They're the best all-round exercise but you need to make sure you have a good technique."

In the interest of keeping things interesting, though, she's always found her way back to running and weights. Derval says: "I'm seriously contemplating investing in a pair of roller blades for the summer, for something fun and different to do."

Her best fitness advice? "Keep moving! We can get very caught up in training plans and rules but most of us just need to be mindful of moving. The body simply needs to move each day so don't over complicate it." And, being a foodie, her ultimate post-workout meal? "After a session I reach for some fresh fish, stir-fried vegetables and a tasty baked potato.''

Derval's top 3 fitness tips

1 Be consistent with your fitness regime each week. Without any doubt, this is the key.

2 Find a friend to workout with - it makes things a lot more enjoyable and you will motivate each other.

3 Choose something that you can fit into your lifestyle - such as cycling to work - and don't try to overachieve!

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