Luke Dicicco is head of enterprise and engagement at Solomons Europe in Kendal

How many times a week do you like to exercise?

I always aim to do something strenuous (so, not walking my extremely lazy retired racing greyhound!) around three to four times a week.

What sort of exercise do you do?

I do a huge amount of cycling – road in the good weather, cross-country mountain biking when it isn’t as good (so a fair bit!). I love racket sports and play for Kendal Badminton Club, swapping to tennis during the summer months. I also play a lot of football. Recently I’ve started running as I’ve done a few charity runs this year, including the Grasmere Gallop 10k to raise money for West House in Cumbria through the Solomons Europe Community Fundraising Forum. I’m more than happy to do it for the good cause, but I have to admit I find the running itself quite boring!

Do you have any fitness goals?

Nothing specific other than generally keeping control of the waistline and generally feeling good. I really do it to get out, enjoy the scenery and get the heart going and for both physical and mental health purposes.

What’s the most physically challenging thing you have done in your life?

Probably the Cross Border Sportive – 80-plus miles of road cycling around the England/Scotland Border starting at Lanercost. It was tough but I really enjoyed it. I’m actually a week or so away from what will be my biggest challenge – the Great North Run. I’m doing it to raise money for Parkinson’s UK. It’s a terrible disease and I have close family and friends who have it, so my dislike of running and the impending pain is an extremely small price to pay. If anyone out there would like to support me, please visit

How does keeping fit impact on your work?

I’m in front of a computer most of the time at work and despite making conscious effort to take breaks and walk around, nothing beats doing something more strenuous. It’s true what the expert says, exercise really does help with keeping sharp and relieving stress. I think with a clear mind and refreshed (sometimes aching!) body, I am much more productive.

Which sportsperson/fitness expert do you most admire?

I think professional cyclists are right up there when it comes to the fittest sportspeople out there. I’m a huge fan of Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel who won the road race at the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow recently. He does road racing, cyclocross and cross-country mountain biking, so that basically means he’s cycling all year round. And he wins (a lot) across all three disciplines, which is pretty incredible.

In Cumbria:

When in your life did you feel at your fittest?

I’d probably say I feel fitter than ever right now. I did a lot of sports as a youngster but much more now in terms of variety and volume. The one thing I find getting older is that it generally hurts more! And you definitely have to take recovery much more seriously.

On days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, what motivates you to get up and go?

The prospect of getting outdoors is always enough for me. It’s a big reason why I relocated to Cumbria from the Black Country almost 20 years ago. I’ve also become more “weatherproof” during that time, so the weather has to be really, really bad nowadays for me to hide in bed rather than head out! Badminton is a winter sport, so it’s a great way to break up the dark nights, meet up with people and take on some tough opponents when it comes to the competitive matches.

How do you ensure a work/life balance?

I’ve never forgotten Kevin Roberts’ (in-Cumbria columnist) declaration that “it isn’t about work/life balance any more, it’s about work/life integration”. I got his point straight away. The world of work has changed a lot and become more flexible, with more opportunities to break up work (lunchtime runs for example) and ensure you have the time to, most importantly of all, enjoy time with family and friends. It’s always a challenge, but if you get that integration right you get to enjoy both work and life in general.

What’s your top tip for remaining motivated?

Setting achievable goals – and going at your own pace – is a good starting point, because if you don’t it’s pretty easy to get deflated and give up. Living in such a beautiful place is also a huge motivation. I’d much rather be cycling around the Lakes than London for example! I also don’t think you have to be super competitive when playing sports. Winning is great, but it isn’t the be all and end all. I’ve always preferred playing sports against people or teams better than me. You learn so much more and ultimately it improves you. Plus, victory always tastes so much sweeter against someone or a team that was wiping the floor with you, say, 12 months ago! Finally, doing something for a charitable cause close to your heart has to be the biggest kind of motivation of all.

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