MEN’S HEALTH WEEK: A CANDID INTERVIEW WITH ROB CULLEN
This Men’s Health Week, we decided to talk to our well wisher Rob Cullen from Dublin Chamber, to get his take on the subject. In this candid interview, Rob talks about his own successful wellness journey and gives valuable suggestions for individuals and businesses.
There is a common belief that men think that their health does not matter, what is your view on that? How do you value health and wellbeing? When did you last see a health professional?
There certainly is and up until recently I was that man too, but on one day in August 2016 that changed. My wife and I returned from a wedding in Spain after 4 days and nights of food and drink and partying.
We went to collect the kids in the Phoenix Park with their grandparents and as I started to run towards them I had to stop. I couldn’t run for longer than 5 seconds I felt a pain in my chest looked up at the pope’s cross and knew at that moment I needed to change and needed to do it now. I was almost 20 stone and had to lose weight, a lot of weight.
Nowadays I’m much healthier I love the food I’m eating love the small bit of exercise I do and love the well-being and wellness bubble that seems with us now.
Probably within the last six months.
*What has been your health and wellbeing journey and what inspired you to make that change or start that journey? *
Similar to what I mentioned above plus I realized if I didn’t do anything about my weight I would not be able to play football or run around with my two sons and that really made me think long and hard about my health.
How do you think changing social and economic roles of men have impacted on how men see their health and wellbeing? I think men nowadays like women are living busy lives with stressful jobs
We all need to put out health first and as I mentioned above I think a lot of us today are eating and looking after ourselves a lot better than before, there seems to be a real health buzz around with more people choosing yoga, gym classes running or cycling over trips to the pub.
Mental health is a sensitive topic, but what is your experience in your community or workplace?
It is sensitive but thankfully due to a lot of well known people becoming more open about their condition and or mental health people are now not afraid to say it affects or affected them or someone they know. People need to know it’s ok to say you’re not ok, I myself have epilepsy while it hasn’t affected me in the last 15 years I’ve always been open about it and try to encourage others with the same condition to talk about it. I’m an ambassador for Epilepsy Ireland who do great work nationwide with people who have the condition.
How can businesses develop practical men’s health and wellbeing initiatives?
Plenty of businesses are already doing it. We know lots of companies that would have on site fitness programmes. These are a great way to get teams working together in a class during lunch hours or after work.
We actually do walk and talk meetings with colleagues so instead of sitting in a meeting room we’re getting a bit of fresh air, exercise and tend to have better conversations.
Flexible working hours are another area that can help meaning staff can get to drop their children to school or pick them up once the hours are being put in. Family time is so important in the health and well-being of everyone.
Nutrition is huge and healthy eating is something I a big advocate for.
At our own events now we always have the healthy option of fruit bowls or fruit skewers yogurts and porridge so a lot better than sausage rolls and pastries, these are cheap and easy options for businesses to implement.
Remote or smart working is another area that there seems to be growth in and again it can really help in the health and wellbeing for employees.
What is that small step you are happy to pledge today that you will do from tomorrow that you think will have the biggest impact on your health and wellbeing?
Help other people achieve their goals in health and wellbeing, there is no better feeling than offering your help and others accepting it. Over the last 2 years I’ve lost over 7 stone my wife has lost of 5, we’ve took huge steps to improve both our health and our boys’ health.
So, I think we will just continue doing what we are doing, one step we’ve took recently is the opening of a consultancy to help others lose weight too.