4 / 5 Stars
A great book for those with anxiety... who think they might be tempted to run!
As someone who has grappled with anxiety for several years, and has found running to be a really effective way of managing the symptoms, I was naturally drawn to this book. And indeed, though the author's experiences of anxiety differ from my own, there was so much that I found myself agreeing with (and thinking 'thank goodness someone else knows how it feels!').
It's about Bella Mackie's own experiences with running; something she took up after her divorce. She describes how initially, it was just a short few minutes around the block, but how over time, she started going further and further, and opening herself up to not only new places, but new experiences too.
The big question is, who is this book for? I personally feel that if you're an anxious person (or suffer from any other mental health issues), then you'll find this insightful. It explains really well how that particular form of exercise can help you to detach from your problems (for a while); how it almost becomes a form of mindfulness and a welcome break from all the things that are dragging you down.
What I particularly liked was the author's honesty and lack of pretension. I was a bit worried it was going to be a bit 'look at me, I'm now an amazing runner, regularly entering marathons' etc. (the running world can be a bit competitive!) - but to my relief, she simply focuses on the benefits of running; whether you're jogging for five minutes, or heading out for a four-hour slog.
On a more personal note - I too started running, back in April (after a particularly splendid panic attack in Australia that left me literally vomiting!). Like the author, I was initially just heading out to the local park to do a few laps. Then I swiftly grew to love that peace; the sense of giving my mind a rest for a while and just letting my body take over. It's an empowering thing; and I think Bella Mackie captures that perfectly here.
If you're curious about the benefits of running for mental wellbeing, I'd recommend giving this book a read.