The winner of all Irish hurlers warns of growing sport addiction among young people

A former All Ireland hurling star and HSE drug education officer has warned of a growing addiction to fitness and exercise focused solely on developing the “perfect physique”.

Ipperary Hurler John Leahy, 52, who now works as a drug education officer in Clonmel, said that while health and fitness should be promoted as part of a good, healthy lifestyle, there was increasing concern that many young people across Ireland were addicted craving fitness and exercise routines just to develop a physique that mirrors the physiques seen in magazines and on TV.

Such an obsession with developing or sculpting what they consider the “perfect body” becomes all-consuming and overshadows the health and lifestyle benefits of good exercise.

In some cases, there are fears that such obsessive “body shaping” can be detrimental to a person’s overall health – including the use of supplements that can radically alter body shape.

Mr Leahy – who won three All Ireland hurling crowns with Tipperary after becoming the first Mullinahone player to make the Premier County senior team – warned that a balance of health, lifestyle and fitness is crucial meaning be.

The slinger warned that this is becoming increasingly important given the image pressures being exerted in modern life, and particularly through television and social media.

“People want to get that body image now. They want to get the big muscles to get ‘the guns’, they want the ‘ripped’ bellies,” he told TippFM.

“There’s an addiction to it in the sense that it becomes obsessive. You know where do you stop?”

He said young people are being misled into believing that such overdeveloped bodies as seen on TV or in magazines are the norm.

“And I say that a lot to people you know, in training, in sports. They often say, ‘Oh, teams aren’t fit.’ And I’m going to say, “Measure fitness – measure, where do we stop here?

“You see it in young people now. They expand their bodies, their limits, their physicality.

“They become addicted and obsessed with it. It would worry me if I had a young lad or saw someone in the gym or working out all the time.

“Something really important is balance in life.”

He said health and fitness are wonderful things to encourage in young people. Being actively involved in local sports and sports clubs was also something very positive.

But he said it’s important that a sense of balance is encouraged at all stages so the benefits aren’t overshadowed by obsessive and compulsive exercise.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.