Caroline Heffernan, 50, is a mother of two and a grandmother who has Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe. Caroline has had to be especially cautious this year due to Covid-19, and the social aspect of exercise has become more important to her than ever.
“Since March I've relied on socially distanced walks with a couple of my friends who agreed to be part of my exercise bubble," said Caroline. "This lets me catch up with the outside world, have a chin-wag, or even an odd moan. For many people, exercise has become the only form of social interaction outside of Whatsapp or Zoom. I'm also thankful that I'm able to go for virtual cycles with club mates, making my time cocooning somewhat easier."
I have ups and downs with my health, but I’m able to say to myself: okay, you’ve been knocked down, but that’s besides the point. You know how much better you feel when you exercise, so let’s start again
Caroline firmly believes in exercise for all abilities and she has relied on movement to support her physical and mental health for most of her life. She was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 13 and her parents were told her life expectancy would be very short.
Thanks to developments in drug therapies however, she completed Ironman Barcelona in 2018 and has signed up for the Cork Ironman next year even though she is still struggling with side effects from Covid which she contracted in October.
“There are some days when I struggle to get up the stairs, but whether my exercise ability is a slow walk or jogging 20K, I believe you have to be stubborn with yourself, make no excuses, accept your present situation and do what you can. I have ups and downs with my health, but I’m able to say to myself: okay, you’ve been knocked down, but that’s besides the point. You know how much better you feel when you exercise, so let’s start again.”