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Olympian Thomas Barr helps launch Irish Life Health partnership with Athletics Ireland

Thomas Barr with UL’s Gary Ryan & Tom Comyns launch Irish Life Health partnership with Athletics Ireland

Irish Life Health was announced as an official partner to Athletics Ireland, a sport that develops children’s fundamental movement skills which research has shown contributes significantly to the probability of a long-term active life by up to 20%

Physical inactivity has significant implications, costing our annual health budget €1.5 billion according to the Government. Research also indicates numerous health benefits of running throughout life including living approximately three years longer than non-runners.

Athletics is well placed as an ideal sport for life, with Athletics Ireland offering a range of programmes reaching 100,000 people daily aged 8 to 80. It also connects with the wider 300,000 strong running community through events and initiatives. 

22 January 2019; Irish Life Health Ambassador and European 400m Hurdles Medallist Thomas Barr with 8 year old Roisin Woods and 8 year old Patrick Ryan, both from Raheny, Dublin, pictured today at the announcement of Irish Life Health as an official partner to Athletics Ireland, a sport that delivers on health, wellness and lifelong activity. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Irish Life Health through its partnership with Athletics Ireland is committing to a sport that delivers on health, wellness and lifelong activity.

Speaking at the announcement Dr. Tom Comyns, lecturer in Human Movement Science at the University of Limerick said: 

“We need to provide young children with the best possible start, so they can lead a healthy and active life. Numerous research studies have pointed to the fact that there is a strong positive relationship between fundamental movement skill competence and physical activity in children and adolescents. This is most likely due to the abilities and confidence that children gain from the early development of those skills.”

Gary Ryan, former Olympian and Project Manager UL Beo (University of Limerick initiative in the areas of physical activity, health, lifestyle and sport) added:

 “Exercise is the ultimate health pill with numerous studies finding it leads to better heart health, reduced risk of cancer, lower risk of diabetes and better mental health. Running is especially beneficial with a recent review suggesting that runners have a 25%-40% reduced risk of premature mortality3. Through its simplicity, convenience, and accessibility, running is an activity that can be continued throughout life. It is an especially good form of exercise for those who are time poor to get the necessary levels of intensity of physical activity required.”

Thomas Barr, European 400m Hurdlers Bronze Medallist and Brand Ambassador for Irish Life Health since 2016, said: 

“Children acquiring the basic movement skills has such a long-term positive impact on their health. Athletics is an ideal sport for developing these skills, providing an ideal foundation for a lifetime of movement and activity.” 

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Jack Neville