Jog On: How Running Saved My Life
by Bella Mackie
Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.
That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.
In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.
I’ve been trying to get back into running recently and thought I’d give Bella Mackie’s book a try to help keep me motivated. I really enjoyed Alexandra Heminsley’s conversational tone in “Running Like a Girl” and was expecting to be equally entertained.
“It’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time.”
Unfortunately I didn’t read the summary before diving into this book, or I did, but from reading it I was expecting a book about running with some mention of anxiety and mental health. In reality this book is rather the opposite: a book about mental health with some mention of running.
The majority of this book is mental health focused, with one chapter even listing types of mental health diagnoses and their descriptions. There’s a lot of facts and figures and for me this felt a little like reading a literature review on a wider report, especially when other books and authors are quoted and referenced. It felt a little like the author was saying, here’s what someone else thinks and I agree so I’m sharing it with you. That said though, if you’re looking for some recommendations on inspirational books to read, this book contains many!
I listened to this book, narrated by the author herself and I actually found it a little confusing at times, particularly where she started to quote someone and used the first person so it took me a while in some cases to work out that she wasn’t referring to herself. Although maybe that was just me losing concentration, I’m not sure!
I appreciate what the author has gone through in her life and I don’t wish to downplay that in any way. I also appreciate the need for books like this one and I know that this book will have helped a lot of people, especially as it’s clear a lot of research has gone into it. But for me personally, as I was expecting a book about running and instead found myself listening to repetitive descriptions of anxiety, I found it difficult to truly get into this book and can’t say that I enjoyed it all that much.
Overall rating: Bella Mackie‘s book “Jog On: How Running Saved My Life” wasn’t what I was expecting and sadly this wasn’t what I was looking for. I’m sure that this book will be really beneficial to those wanting to learn a little more about mental health, but if you’re expecting a book specifically about running, I would probably give this one a miss.