Sunday 25 August 2019

Mary Kennedy: 'Running helps my mood - it releases the happy hormone'

Mary Kennedy - constantly on the go
Mary Kennedy - constantly on the go

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy (63) says modestly that she's no athlete, but she will admit to having clocked up a couple of marathons as well as a string of mini-marathons. She is also constantly on the go - walking her two dogs, hiking and travelling the length and breadth of the country for RTE1's Nationwide.

"I've always been into running as a way of keeping fit. I did stop about two years ago because of my knees, but I'm back running again - I'm sure my knees will see me out. I run about 4.5km, a lot of it on grass, three times a week. I like to be out of the house by 7.30 in the morning. I don't always feel great when I go out for a run, but invariably I feel great when I come back. I used to do much longer distances and hopefully I'll build up again. I'd like to do a 10km.

"Running definitely helps with my mood. I think it's very important for mental health - it does release the happy hormone. I have aches and pains that I didn't have when I was younger, but I don't find it harder. I think so much of it is in your head. I go out running because I want to keep going, I want to be energetic, I want to enjoy life. I'm conscious of the hourglass not being tilted in my favour.

"As you get older, you put more weight on around your middle. I find putting on a few pounds takes exactly as long as it did when I was 20, but getting it off takes a lot longer. Then I cut out the sugars and bread and butter. I also take fish oils and apple cider vinegar in water first thing - I think it helps my metabolism - and I drink a litre of water before I do anything at all.

"I take the dogs for a stroll too, usually about a half-hour walk. I'm part of a walking group - it's not terribly taxing, but it's a lovely way to chat.

"I meditate when I'm with my sister Deirdre ni Chinneide [Deirdre runs retreats on Inis Mor]. Having her as a sister has made me more aware of meditation. It nourishes my head and my spirit and my soul. I'm very conscious of trying to live in the moment and just not be worried, because, by disposition, I would be a worrier. I do try not to allow that into my head. But I wouldn't feel happy if I wasn't looking after my diet and fitness."

Mary Kennedy will present RTE One's programme of Christmas carols on Christmas Eve at 6.15pm

Mary's top 3 tips

* You've got to push yourself and get the heart rate up to increase your fitness. Anyone can do it. When I was training for the marathon, the programme started with a 10-minute walk and built up to 26 miles.

* Don't worry about the things over which you have no control - just enjoy today. Today is today, and you're younger than you will ever be in the future.

* Laughter is terribly important - fun and laughter. It's about living your best life - and I really put a lot of emphasis on not taking myself too seriously.

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