Keeping Cork Healthy: Week 4 - How to stay injury-free while working out at home

2nd May 2020

The Mardyke Arena UCC have teamed up with The Echo for our new campaign ‘Keeping Cork Healthy’ series to give the Cork community weekly tips on how they can stay fit and healthy during this lock down period.

In this edition,we launch the start of The Physio Corner, where the Chartered Physiotherapists at the arena clinic will be giving weekly advice. In addition, we hear from Cork native Shane Lehane, now living in Melbourne, you will find family games that can be played at home, a healthy smoothie recipe from Mary Carmody and tips from boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan…..


Surviving the lockdown; the pitfalls of exercise and gardening!

FROM a physiotherapist’s perspective, one of the positives from the current global Coronavirus pandemic is that I see increased numbers of people out walking, running and cycling, writes Joe Normoyle, Chartered Physiotherapist at the Mardyke Arena UCC clinic.

This can only be positive in the short and long term if we maintain these activity levels.

I’ve also noticed that home renovations and gardening is now back in vogue! Well, there’s not much else to do to keep ourselves entertained during lockdown!

However, not to put a dampener on our new found love of exercise and green fingers, but injuries can and do happen with both. Generally, this is due to either:

  1. Doing an activity that we’re not used to doing, and/or,
  2. Increasing our activity levels too much, too soon.


Both of the above ‘mechanisms of injury’ leads to an overload of stress/strain on structures in our bodies.

This can be acute overload such as a sudden movement (lifting a plant pot) or chronic overload such as a repetitive strain (weeding, pruning etc.).

One of the most basic ways to manage this is by following the 10% rule. For example, if you normally walk/run/cycle 5km and you would like to increase your distance, you should only increase by 10% (or 500m) for the next 2-3 sessions.

Your body will adapt to the new distance and then you can increase it by a further 10%, etc.

This is more difficult to quantify in gardening. What is 10% more hedge cutting? But there are a few useful tips below:

  • Start with some gentle stretching to warm up muscles and joints.
  • Do no more than 1.5 hours per day initially.
  • Switch tasks regularly.
  • Kneel down when planting with both knees on a pad.
  • When lifting, bend the knees and keep the back straight

As part of the Keeping Cork Healthy campaign the arena clinic are offering free consultations to the Cork community.

If you or a family member can relate to any of the above, or have any queries, get in touch by emailing the and one of our Chartered Physiotherapists will follow up with you.


Finding the silver lining & staying accountable

LIKE the rest of the world, professional sport in Australia has ground to a halt as the greater battle of overcoming Covid-19 takes precedence writes Cork native, Shane Lehane, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Melbourne Rebels.

Super Rugby, with the associated international travel, faces even more uncertainty as to when it will resume. This creates challenges for athletes (and coaches!) but also gives rise to a unique opportunity to develop as a person and sportsperson.

Below are some of the initiatives the coaching and playing group at the Rebels have put in place to stay connected and develop during this period.

  • A WhatsApp group exclusively for non-rugby related self-development. Players and staff are sharing podcasts, books, movies and TV shows which have resonated with them.
  • My favourite so far has been a book by Ryan Holiday titled Ego is the Enemy, recommended by our long serving centre Tom English.
  • Career Development: Professional sport is a short and unpredictable career.
  • A number of players have taken this opportunity to enrol in a multitude of free online university courses which have become available over this period
  • Players have been also expanding their networks outside of rugby to gain insights into what life might look like post sport.
  • Weekly Table Quiz: With our playing squad spread-out all-over Australia and New Zealand, a Thursday night table quiz, conducted over Zoom has kept the group connected and ensures plenty of banter!
  • Player Watch: The playing squad has been divided into teams and led by a coach.
  • Each group has been tasked with reviewing game footage and feeding back to the wider squad on technical and tactical areas for growth within our own team.

It has been a great opportunity for the players to review not just Super Rugby games but how the game is played around the world.

  • Weekly Challenge: While the players have been provided with specific athletic performance and skill programs to complete at home, the Weekly Challenge has provided some fun and variety. So far, we have had, fastest 1.2km time trial, a rugby trick shot competition and a virtual cook off.

Although it is a difficult and uncertain time to be involved in professional sport, it is also an opportunity to work on specific aspects of your game and perhaps more importantly develop as an individual outside of sport.


Inside the mind of our Cork Sports Stars — How are they adapting?

This week, Cork boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan speaks to us on how he is adapting to the current situation and maintaining his fitness.

“It’s important to adapt quickly and make the most of what is around you to maintain your fitness.

“I have a static bike that I use every day. I also run three times a week — 20 x 100m sprints and 20 x short hill sprints. I break them into sets of five with a rest in between.

“I complete bodyweight exercise circuits in the garden, set for me by my Strength and Conditioning coach Dave O’Connell at the Mardyke Arena UCC.

“There’s lots of squats, push-ups, bench dips, and lunges.

“My advice to other athletes is to get used to the surrounds around you, adapt your training to suit you, whether it’s in the garden or on a hill nearby, and most importantly drink a lot of water and eat clean.”


Online Fitness Classes via Facebook 

Starting Monday 4th May, the Mardyke Arena UCC will be running live Fitness Classes via the Mardyke Arena UCC Facebook page.

Please see below Fitness Class schedule:

  • Monday – HIIT – 6pm
  • Tuesday – Legs, Bums & Tums – 6pm
  • Wednesday – Pilates for all – 6pm
  • Thursday – Legs, Bums & Tums – 6pm
  • Friday – HIIT – 1pm


Recipe of the WeekAn immune-boosting smoothie recipe, by Mary Carmody, Nutritional Consultant


1 slice of pineapple chopped up

1 handful of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

1 handful of fresh, baby spinach

1 tablespoons of milled chia seeds or flaxseed

150-200ml of filtered water

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

A sprinkle of black pepper to aid absorption of turmeric


  • Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Enjoy!


Show us your workouts 

If you are doing a Recipe of the Week or home work-out, show us how you get on by using #KeepingCorkHealthy on Twitter and tagging Echo Live & Mardyke Arena UCC.


Family Play – Games & Activities

The Cork Sports Partnership has teamed up with a number of partner organisations to develop the Keeping Cork Active resource to help people stay active and healthy at home during Covid-19. The resources are broken up into six easy to follow sections that can be found at

Resources Sections:

FAMILY PLAY: Games & Activities

OLDER ADULTS: Exercise & Activities

CHILDREN & YOUTH: Sports Skills & Challenges

ADULTS & YOUTH: Exercise & Home Workouts

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Inclusive & Adaptive Activities

EVERYONE: Health & Wellbeing

In the coming weeks, the Cork Sports Partnership will share information from each section of the Keeping Cork Activeresource with Echo readers.

The Family Play section of the Keep Cork Active resource is made up of activities and games that can be played at home with all the family. These are focused on active play, traditional games and family fun fitness. Here are some highlights from a couple of our partner organisations:

Safefood – Interactive Wheel:

Safefood has put together a fun interactive wheel of traditional games as part of their ‘Getting Active’ campaign, these are games that all members of the family can play and enjoy. Simply spin the activity wheel to choose a game or activity and get moving!

Go to to spin & play Safefood’s interactive wheel.

This Girl Can – Disney Dance Along:

This Girl Can is all about celebrating getting active in a fun and sociable way. The team at This Girl Can have created a host of resources for the whole family to enjoy such as their Disney Dance Along videos.

You can learn their moves or put your own spin on their routines.

At the end of the day, it’s about breaking a sweat while having a bit of fun. Go to to watch and partake in This Girls Can Disney Dance.

For more information on the Family Play — Games & Activity or for other ideas to stay active and healthy please visit


Next Week:

Healthy food and diet advice, exercise for older adults, and more from our Physio Corner.


Catch Up:

Click link to all our home work-out videos.

Click here to catch up on Keeping Cork Healthy: Week 1 – Keep fit, in your home

Click here to catch up on Keeping Cork Healthy: Week 2 – Strong body & mind

Click here to catch up on Keeping Cork Healthy: Week 3 – Minding your mental health


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