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ExWell ensures all ends well despite illness

It wasn’t just the senior hurlers who were concentrating on their fitness at Turloughmore GAA Club last Friday two days ahead of their county final showdown with St Thomas’.

There was a whole other world of fitness classes also going on in the centre – with some of those participants able to remember the club’s glory days when they famously won six-in-a-row back in the sixties.

But this wasn’t about reflections on past glories; it was about looking after yourself in the face of those many illnesses that can impact so heavily on your later life.

They were the participants in the first foray of a pioneering social enterprise scheme that offers exercise classes in community settings to people with many different chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions.

ExWell Medical was founded in 2019 by former Dublin footballer and All-Star Dr Noel McCaffrey, with the aim of helping those who deal with illnesses from heart disease and lung disease to diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, stroke and more.

As Noel himself explains it, people with these illnesses typically become quite inactive, which actually accounts for much of the un-wellness they experience.

“Appropriate exercise, especially group classes – which add in the vital social element – can have life-transforming beneficial impact,” says Noel.

Jane Buxton was among those at the GAA club to attend the ExWell class. Jane’s story is like that of so many people. Aged 64, Jane had some health problems.

She had diabetes and high blood and was overweight. She just wasn’t feeling great and decided to retire from her job as an addiction counsellor.

Suddenly, having been very busy, engaging with people all day, she found herself ‘drifting’ and on her own a lot.  The nurse in her GP practice asked would she try ExWell.

She was dubious and felt it might be like other gyms where everyone is good looking and fit.

But ExWell was different.

Find out why in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And to discover more about ExWell, go to

Pictured: Frank Forde, one of the Turloughmore team who won six championships in a row in the 1960s with ExWell Medical founder and former Dublin footballer Dr Noel McCaffrey at the ExWell Medical community exercise class at Turloughmore GAA club. Photo: Brian Harding.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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