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Under pressure: Flynny's heart-stopping scare

The radio star’s been forced to reassess his lifestyle after another cardiac crisis

By Rebekah Hebenton
It has been almost 10 years since More FM host Paul "Flynny" Flynn received the news that no one wants to hear – his father Rick had had a massive heart attack and was undergoing bypass surgery to save his life.
"I was terrified, to be honest. I was terrified of losing my dad so young and so suddenly," admits Flynny, who was 31 at the time. "He's a full-of-life character and he's one of my best mates. He's awesome."
Thankfully, Rick, now 62, made it through and Flynny shares he is now doing better than ever. But the thought of losing his dad so young was a sobering wake-up call for the father-of-four and Flynny decided it was time to take a good look at his own health.
"At the time, I was very overweight, I never exercised and I was filling myself up with rubbish. So, I started freaking out about my heart and what I've done to it in my life so far," Flynny shares. "I went to a cardiologist and had all the tests done, and they found that I had the very start of coronary artery disease. It made me think, 'Okay, I need to start looking after myself.'"
And he did. The now 41-year-old started eating healthier and took up running for the first time in his life.
"At the start, I couldn't even run more than a minute. And then I did five ks, then 10ks, and I started doing a few half marathons. I got really fit and it felt good."
But as time passed, Flynny started to slip back into his old bad habits and the stresses of life started to take their toll, especially the arrival of Covid, which put a huge strain on his marriage celebrant business.
Over time, that stress started to affect his heart, which he worried could be something more sinister than anxiety.
"I started feeling lots of missed heartbeats, my heart would be beating normally, then it would miss a beat and I'd feel a big bang in my chest. It began happening more and more, and I started feeling it most of the day."
With the memory of his father's heart attack still in his mind, Flynny became convinced that something bad was going on, so he took himself for a check-up.
After hours of tests and being hooked up to machines, Flynny's doctor revealed his problem was high anxiety. "The cardiologist explained how stress can affect you in many different ways, and for me, it was affecting my heart with all the extra cortisol my body was producing."
Though it wasn't a serious problem, Flynny is still glad he went to the doctor because he knows all too well the consequences of not taking care of yourself and encourages others to be just as vigilant about their health.
"You're going to save yourself so much anguish in the long run if you get onto things and just make sure you're okay. There's nothing like a bit of peace of mind."
Now, Flynny is back on the health train, determined to not only get on top of his physical fitness, but his mental health as well. Luckily, his love of running can help with both."Running is the single best thing I ever started doing in my life. I know that if I'm running regularly, I feel like a different person," he enthuses. "I feel clarity of my mind, I feel calm
and my anxiety just disappears.
"I've kind of forgotten the last few years, but I'm getting back into it and I'm loving it. I'm starting to feel those good feelings again."
Knowing that heart disease runs in his family, Flynny is also passing on the lessons of a healthy life to his kids Jack, 15, Leo, 12, Mickey, nine, and Alex, five, so they don't have to learn the habits as an adult as he did.
"We've brought them up knowing a lot more about heart health and they lead pretty healthy lives," Flynny tells.
"I'll definitely encourage them to keep on top of their heart health from a young age because I think it's really important to be on the front foot."

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