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Top tips for autumn health and fitness

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

We’ve found Activate clients usually like to refocus on their goals as summer draws to a close, so here are some tips for autumn health and fitness.

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Something about the season change always motivates people to create a routine that usually lasts from now until the holidays.

With all the change and flux over the past 18 months, your routine might be a little different this year. However, that’s no reason to avoid revisiting your goals. As always, we’re here to help. At Activate we’re challenging ourselves to do Goal Review Sessions with as many members as possible in the next six weeks.
We’d love to sit down with you to make a plan. If there are any new challenges in your life - working from home, lack of child care, etc - we can help you find ways to prioritise your health and fitness.

Here are a few simple things to keep making progress:

1. Schedule your workouts

Things are going to get busy in September so pull out your calendar and schedule your workouts. Once you have them booked, treat them like important appointments that can’t be moved. This is key to building your routine as kids go back to school and job stress increases.

2. Get fitness out of the way earlier in the day

Most people find that getting a workout in early in the day “sets them up”. This can be true, but having that non-negotiable time is vital regardless of whether its morning or evening. If you tend to get to the afternoon slump and the idea of a workout slips down the list of priorities and sometimes doesn’t happen at all, start working out before work and stop it becoming an issue!

3. Pack your gym bag the night before

This is a small thing, but it’s super effective. If you’re scrambling in the morning, the kids are crazy, and you’re running late, you might say “forget it” to fitness if you have to pack a bag. But if it’s sitting by the door, all you have to do is grab it. Better yet, put it in the car, so there’s no chance you forget it. An emergency measure: Always leave some “backup” clean workout gear and shoes in the car or at the office, so you’re covered if you ever forget the gym bag.

4. Prioritise nutrition and rest

If you’re feeling burned out, you can do wonders for your health just by eating well and getting a little extra sleep. Resist the urge to order the 10pm pizza. Get healthy meals planned and then get to bed on time - or even earlier if you’re feeling run down. If you absolutely can’t find time to work out, sleep and nutrition become even more important.

5. Get some healthy snacks

Many trips through the drive-through are caused by hunger and desperation. You can often avoid them by getting some healthy options in place so you’re prepared when hunger strikes. Maybe keep a box of low-sugar, high-protein bars at the office, or put a few healthy frozen meals on an “emergency shelf” in the freezer. You can always keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand, but a few non-perishable backups will help you double down on healthy eating when time is tight.

6. Tell your coach how you’re doing

We are here for you! If you’re having a great day, let us know. If you’re struggling, we want to know about that too because communication is critical. This will help us tailor our service to give you exactly what you need each day.

Now is the best time of year to set yourself up for solid routine as winter draws closer. If the pandemic has thought us anything, it’s that health and fitness should be an integral part of our lives.

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NPWS announces nature scholarships to mark ‘Muckross 60’

Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of […]

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Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of Muckross House and Gardens to the public. The scholarships will be funded and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Niall O Donnchú said, “Killarney and Muckross have a very special place in Ireland’s heritage legacy, and  such beautiful gems need constant care, nurturing and indeed protecting by future generations. In supporting these third level scholarships, the NPWS is building the knowledge base of the future to assist those generations in continuing to realise the full beauty and nature value of the very unique Muckross House and Gardens and Killarney National Park.”

Mr O Donnchú added: “Killarney has a long history of scholarship, research and frontier work on nature and that continues to this day in the management of Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens. The endowment of these annual scholarships is a very clear attestation that this crucial work continues to be undertaken across our national park system and especially here in Killarney and Muckross. This work has been pioneering in respect of wildlife and nature research and indeed the reintroduction of endangered species and the discovery, even this year, of more.”

Minister for Education and Kerry T.D. Norma Foley also welcomed new scholarships to mark the 60th anniversary of Muckross House.

“Muckross House is one of the jewels in the crown of Kerry tourism and received almost one million visitors last year. These scholarships will further add to our understanding of this outstanding part of our national heritage,” she said.

Muckross House was built by the Herbert family, who were local landlords. They became very wealthy during the 18th century due to the working of the copper mines on the Muckross Peninsula. They commenced the building of the present Muckross House in 1839. It was completed in 1843 at cost of £30,000, just two years prior to the Great Irish Famine. The Herbert family hosted the visit of Queen Victoria to Muckross House in 1861 but later got into financial difficulties and lost the house in 1897.

It was then bought by Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. He in turn sold it in 1911 to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian gold miner. Bowers Bourn gave it to his daughter Maud as a wedding gift when she married Arthur Rose Vincent, an Irish barrister who later became a Senator.

After Maude died from pneumonia in 1929, Arthur Rose Vincent decided to donate Muckross house to the Irish nation as a memorial to his wife. Muckross House was transferred to the state in 1932 with its 11,000 acre estate and became Ireland’s first National Park in 1933.

The park and gardens were opened to the public but the house remained closed until 1964 when it was reopened as a folk museum on June 14, 1964 following a campaign by people in Killarney.

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Now that’s what we call dedication!

With over 41 years volunteering as a research biologist Áine Ní Shúilleabháin is the longest serving volunteer in Killarney National Park. Áine is dedicated to the recording of valuable scientific […]

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With over 41 years volunteering as a research biologist Áine Ní Shúilleabháin is the longest serving volunteer in Killarney National Park.

Áine is dedicated to the recording of valuable scientific data on waterfowl and water quality in Killarney National Park. Her research has been an invaluable source of material with recordings dating back to 1982. Her contribution, observing ecosystems, and reports on her findings will be recognised for generations to come.

Áine’s ‘wingman’ is boatman and co-counter, John Michael Lyne, who operates from Muckross Boathouse. John’s knowledge of the lakes and interest in wildlife is remarkable. Generations of John Michael’s family have been involved with Muckross and Killarney National Park. The day on the lakes, John Michael, Áine and bird expert and National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Ranger, Sam Bayley, observed, nesting Herons, ringed Mute Swans, Golden Eye pair, an Egret, Cormorants, Irish Red Deer Hinds by the shoreline, and a White Tailed Eagle in the distance.

“It’s a wonderful privilege to be working in Killarney National Park, the Rangers are so open and welcoming,” Áine said.

“I first came to the Park in 1974, working with Dan Kelleher and the late Paudie O’Leary, and then on contract from 1976-1984. My supervisor suggested that I link my work as a fresh water biologist looking at the lake water quality with my great interest in wildlife ecology and management, that’s how I started doing the waterfowl counts.”

The project was spearheaded by prof John Bracken, Zoology Department UCD.

When Áine was appointed Senior Fisheries Environmental Officer in Donegal and Cavan (1982-2008), she still found time to travel to Killarney and carry out her bird counts.

“Being involved in waterfowl counts and waterfowl research in the Killarney National Park, alongside the great staff, so committed and knowledgeable from Dan Kelleher to the current management and staff, Éamonn Meskell, Danny O’Keeffe, and the great team of Conservation Rangers, and Sam Bayley being the bird expert, is such a privilege for me.”

After retiring, Áine returned to Kerry and Glenflesk became her home place. She immersed herself helping Glenflesk GAA Club, with her strong Kerry roots she served as Club PRO and now as Health Club Officer. She was appointed to the role of Kerry County Board Children’s Officer, a role she is very proud to hold.

As she says she is in a unique position volunteering.

“It’s unique having a long series of data going from 1982 to 2023, that’s because of the commitment from past and present staff and for me to continue to work as a volunteer is a wonderful privilege. It’s great to be out in nature, in such a beautiful place, so many different ecosystems and great wildlife.”

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