From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph 15 Sep 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
19, Sep 2004 - 10:35

Reach all your fitness goals this winter with a personal trainer
HEALTH is the latest buzz-word, everyone is talking about it. They either want to lose weight, get fit or generally feel better and the message is finally hitting home; your health is your wealth. With the children back at school now is the time to get back into a routine. Out with the ice creams, the barbecues and Sunday afternoons sipping beer and in with a regular fitness regime. But does the thought of a testosterone packed gym turn you completely off and do you need some added motivation? Well help is on hand. Personal trainer, Cyril Canvaroue has twelve years experience in the health and fitness industry and at a very reasonable cost he can help you earn maximum results from your precious exercise time. "Health is very important. People are more aware of their health. But a lot of people who want to lose weight find it difficult. The first step is hard. But once they have someone to push them they can achieve great results. "Most people who come to me want to lose weight, improve fitness, increase their energy levels and be generally healthier," says Cyril.

Opening the online pages of the CT this week for a brief moment I thought I was in San Francisco where I am reliably informed that simply everyone has a personal trainer. The West Coast of America comes to Castlebar on the West Coast of Europe. The interview with Frenchman Cyril Canvaroue delves into a whole range of health issues from diet to exercise to school meals. We are fascinated – in the rabbit caught in the headlights kind of way – by obesity at the moment. A nation on the scales. Turn on the radio or pick up a magazine or newspaper and there’s advice on how to lose weight, avoid bolemia, avoid anorexia. How heavy was Dr. Atkins when he died? Do we still have to avoid dairy products? Can you lose weight by smoking? Can we turn the scales back?

This week, for example, I heard an unfortunate woman who had hit 26 stone at the age of 20 even though "she didn’t eat very much at all". She cut out all fats from her diet but her weight didn’t drop. Unfortunately until she got her own personal trainer in the form of a specialist weight loss doctor, no one had told her that carbohydrates are converted to fat and by the sound of it her diet included a lot of carbohydrate foods.

Sugary soft drinks came in for flak too on radio this week. The message seemed to be that our kids drink a 350ml bottle of sugary soft drinks each day – that’s a lot of calories for a couch potato kid. I suspect it’s not that simple though, as there are plenty of diet products and bottled water sells well too. Humans are basically lazy and our modern society makes it easy to be lazy – just consider the very concept of a remote control for changing channels on your TV set!

We don’t balance our calorie inputs and outputs as a result of our sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately the laws of physics and chemistry are immutable – they tell us that if you eat more calories than you expend in exercise you will get fat. Some people are slightly more or less efficient in how they burn these calories but the margin of difference between high metabolic rate and low metabolic rate people is only something like 10 percent – i.e. not very much. So it’s not a good excuse to say I have a low metabolic rate. If you are overweight you eat too much for the amount of exercise you take. If you ingest food with a calorific content of 3000 calories and you only burn 2000 calories per day you will gain weight. It’s that simple. So you have to either eat less calories or take more exercise to burn it off. And that’s it from your personal online trainer this week!

Benefit drive for young Castlebar mother afflicted by Motor Neuron Disease

A FUND raising drive has got underway in Castlebar to raise the money which will be required to provide a purpose built apartment for a single mother, who was recently diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, and her four year old son. Earlier this year, Elaine O'Leary (33) was diagnosed with the disease for which there is no known cause or cure.
Probably the best known person in the world afflicted by the ailment is the scientist, Stephen Hawking, who is also the longest known survivor. Elaine and her son will very soon have to leave her rented accommodation and move into a purpose built extension, which is being planned for her parents' house. Architect Niall Taylor has designed the apartment and planning permission has been applied for. The cost, without furnishings, will be well in excess of €60,000.

Such facilities should be available from our health services as a matter of course. We should not be opening our weekly paper and reading appeals for fund-raising to support services that should be provided by our health services. There should be no need for appeals of this sort. Likewise for support for people to have specialised cancer treatments, special heart surgery and the like. The point about any of these cases is that they are rare and unusual and thus, they are not a huge burden on the system even if expensive in an individual case. The person afflicted with illnesses such as motor neuron disease have enough to be worried about – they should be automatically entitled to the necessary accommodation to support them in their hour of need. In the meantime of course those like Elaine O'Leary must receive all the local support she requires - her hour of need is now - and there's not much point waiting for politicians to come up with the goods in the short term. Look how long it took for the first hip operation to be undertaken in Castlebar!

Castlebar GMIT anniversary reunion

THE 10th anniversary of the opening of Mayo's first third-level education facility takes place this October. It's going to be a weekend-long commemoration of the college's achievements to date, according to members of staff in GMIT@Castlebar, who are already getting into celebratory mode. "When we first opened in 1994 on the grounds of St. Mary's Hospital in Castlebar, 110 students registered on our programmes. Now we have nearly 1,800 students, of whom 850 are part-time learners engaging in accredited lifelong learning programmes," outlines Dr. Katie Sweeney, Head of Centre, GMIT . "Only three National Certificate programmes were available for students in Computing, Business Studies and Construction when we started here," continues the GMIT @Castlebar Head of Centre, who has been working in the Institute since the official opening in 1995. "Today, the college provides 22 full-time courses with accredited and innovative degree progression in all disciplines. The College also offers an extensive portfolio of part-time and flexible programmes through lifelong learning.

"The Regional" or RTC as it was known originally is a great success and an essential part of Castlebar’s and Mayo’s future. I reckon it has succeeded way beyond the wildest expectations, even of people like veteran campaigner Paddy McGuinness, back when it opened its doors ten years ago. So long may it prosper. As we move into this much heralded ‘knowledge economy’ GMIT will become increasingly important. It will be vital both from the point of view of equipping graduates with tools to compete in the brave new world of the knowledge economy as well as in any attempts to attract new industry to the county. GMIT are also hosting a conference dealing with artificial intelligence – certainly a hot topic in computing at present and it is great to see staff getting involved in this kind of high-end computer topic. Staff of Institutes of Technology have a heavy teaching burden compared with their University colleagues and they have not been encouraged to undertake research in the past. Thus, it is excellent to see GMIT hosting prestigious research conferences on the Castlebar campus.

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