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It's the adrenalin rush and the roar of white water that get Phil Booth's heart racing

How do you keep fit?

Outdoor activities. Everything from mountaineering to snowboarding, but kayaking is a particular favourite.

What got you started?

At school I did mainstream sports such as football and athletics, but I branched out during my PGCE.

Why kayaking?

The adrenalin. There's not much to beat the excitement of successfully getting down a gnarly stretch of white water. And if it happens to be in a stunning location, like Scotland or the Alps, that's even better.

How do you make time?

I work around my commitments. I do what I can at evenings and weekends, and make the most of my holidays.

Have you felt the benefits?

I certainly feel the lack of it if I go without exercise. I've always had a need to be active, although my body is starting to slow down.

Any downsides?

My knees are in a poor state. Some forms of exercise really take it out on your body, and I put my knees down to the amount of fell-running I used to do. Mountaineering also causes a lot of wear and tear. But if I could turn the clock back I'd not do anything differently - it's a price you have to pay.

How active are your colleagues?

They're fairly active on the whole. Many of them have been interested in learning about the outdoor activities I do, and a few have actually given some of them a try.

Healthy hint?

Don't just think of the obvious sports - try lots of things until you find the one you enjoy. Don't feel you have to do what other people are doing.

Phil Booth, 54, is a part-time teacher of modern languages at Melland high school, a school for children with severe learning difficulties in Gorton, Manchester. For tips on personal fitness go to:

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