He went to the United States to ‘Get America Moving’ but now Well-Being and Inactivity Expert Jim Kirwan is back home in a bid to ‘Get Ireland Moving’ with inactivity one of the primary factors as to why Ireland are on course to become the most obese country in Europe by 2030.

Jim’s passion for fitness and to help get people active came when his Dad died of a heart attack at the young age of 47 and believes that his lack of exercise and inactivity was a primary cause for his sudden death. In a culture that is now run by technology and social media, it is now even more important than ever to show people why staying fit and healthy is so crucial to our well-being.

He went to the United States around 14 years ago to speak on the issue of obesity and in his research, he started to realise just how bad things were, discovering that around 75% of Americans were either overweight or obese. World Health Organisation surveys show Ireland is on course to become the most obese country in Europe in just 13 years time, so Jim is now back in Ireland to raise this awareness and help Irish people become more active and healthier.

In the podcast, Jim offers so much advice on how important staying fit and healthy is to both our physical and mental health, highlighting the risk factors if we don’t get up and take control of our own well-being. Jim offers so many insights on how you can get up, move around and start exercising which will help you live a longer and healthier lifestyle.

You can listen to Jim’s full podcast at this link or download it on iTunes.

Here are five key learns to take away from Jim’s really inspiring interview:

1. Get up and start moving. Things are too easy for people nowadays, as we are in a culture where nearly everything we want is by the click of a button. Jim says that “sitting is the new smoking” and something has to be done about it.  Sitting for long periods is not good for your health so you need to get up and start moving around more. If it is in the workplace, you could be sitting at a computer all day but it is important to take breaks, get up and move around. It could be as simple as taking a walk to the bathroom or even do a loop around the office. It is important to keep moving around to keep that circulation around your body flowing.

2. Stay active no matter how old you are. In an emotional story, Jim describes when his Dad died of a heart attack and believes part of it was down to his lack of exercise and  inactivity. He says we cannot control when we die, but we can control the process to keep yourself fit and active, especially those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  Jim has set up a new coaching business called ‘Your New Lifestyle Mission’ to help people, but especially those who are overweight and sedentary to get back into great shape and have a much more vibrant, higher quality life. When you eventually reach retirement, you can just lie back and let life pass you by but if you are fit, healthy and live a vibrant lifestyle, you can have a life expectancy of at least another 30 years.

3. Exercise is also important for your mental health. There is no doubt that plenty of exercise keeps you in good physical shape and keeps the heart pumping, but it is also a huge factor in your mental health as well. Exercise helps you deal with stress, anxiety and depression, so even if you get out for an hour in the morning and just go for a walk it can really help clear your mind and help you gain focus on what is important in your life. You can also join a group to do the activity together and that helps you build new relationships as well. These steps can also do wonders for your mental well-being, as well as keeping yourself in good shape.

4. Go that little bit further. There is a lot of information out there on how much exercise you should do a day and what food is good to eat, but Jim says a lot of this information is misleading. Some organisations recommend at least 150 minutes of activity a week, but Jim believes this leads to people just doing the minimum and they think that’s fine. We should be focusing on doing the optimum levels. Just because the guidelines state at least 150 minutes, it doesn’t mean you have to stop when that time is up. Push yourself a little bit further and do the best you feel you are capable of.

5. Be happy with what you are doing. Jim’s advice to his 18-year-old would be to go with your heart and pursue a career in something you love doing. Jim started off working in the Bank of Ireland and while it took him 17 years to leave and set up his own business, it was something he always wanted to do. This also shows that it is never too late to achieve your goals. If you are not happy with where you are, figure out what it is you want and go do it. Listen to your gut and pick a career path that you are passionate about.

Do you agree with my take away’s from Jim’s podcast? What inspired you most from Jim’s incredible story? Let me know my leaving a comment below.

Finally, I will be hosting a live podcast to celebrate What I Know Now’s 1 year anniversary with some of my guests over the past year on Thursday 28 September at the Hamilton Building in Trinity College Dublin. Sign up to attend for FREE at this link. Hope to see you there.

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