My passion for fitness

My interest in fitness came to me rather late. At school, it was all about academia for me; I was the girl who was never picked for a sports team, who couldn’t score goals in hockey or hit the ball in tennis. PE lessons were something to be dreaded, and that dislike of exercise continued until my late thirties. By then I was travelling the world as a TV news reporter, working long hours six or seven days a week, and there was simply no time or place in my life for “keeping fit”.

Then I realised I was starting to put on weight and, more significantly, beginning to struggle with stress and lack of energy. I’d heard so much about the benefits of exercise for both mental and physical wellbeing – was it time to give it a go?

I decided that maybe it was, and so I bought a few exercise DVDs and began, very gradually, to make some changes. And then I discovered running, and a passion for fitness that I would never have thought possible back in my teens. Fast forward fifteen years or so and I can honestly say that in my fifties I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.

Nowadays, exercise and running in particular is an absolute priority (some might say an obsession!) for me; in 2019 I ran 1,000 miles for charity, the equivalent of 38 marathons or 76 half marathons, doing crazy things like running a marathon and two half marathons in the space of one week to fit it all in. 2020 was a bit of a write-off in terms of running events for obvious reasons, so I’m hoping to take on more challenges in 2021.

But it’s not just about challenging myself; I know that if I feel anxious or stressed, I will always, ALWAYS feel better if I can go out for a run. I try to fit in a couple of strength sessions a week too, to keep my upper body and core strong.

It’s hard to fit it all in around everything else I do, but it’s so important to me that I make the time, even if that means getting up at 5am (much easier in the summer, and luckily, I’m an early bird by nature!)

I don’t like running on roads, and I’m lucky that I live in the Cotswolds so I have some wonderful hills, fields and canal routes on my doorstep – if you follow me on social media you’ll see that I often stop to take photos too! Being fit seems to make everything in life easier to cope with, calms my busy mind and helps me keep on top of anxiety, something I’ve begun to struggle with in recent years.

Of course not everyone wants to run marathons, and even when you love your sport as much as I do there are days when it’s too cold, or I’m too tired, or I just really can’t get motivated. So if you’re trying to make a few changes and get a bit fitter in 2021, here are a few of my top tips!

  • Find an activity you really enjoy, whether that’s walking, running, cycling, kick boxing or just dancing around your living room. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick to it.
    Schedule your weekly workouts into your diary, as you would any other important appointment. I do this two weeks ahead, and it really helps. If it’s in the diary, it must be done! I prefer to work out alone, but not everyone does, so if that’s you try to find a like-minded friend to join you.
  • Exercise outside whenever you can, whether that’s in the countryside, a local park or green space or just the back garden. There are so many studies about the benefits of getting outside, even in winter – you’ll soon warm up when you start moving!
  • You don’t need to spend loads of money to get fit. I’ve never joined a gym in my life. There are tonnes of great, free work-out videos online, and all you need is a few basic pieces of equipment, some of which you will already have at home. For example, you can use bottles of water or cans of beans as light hand weights. If you want to invest a little money, QVC has some great options. I like Davina McCall’s dumbbell set and the Chair Gym Total Body Exercise System for a full body work-out without leaving your living room!
  • If you find exercise boring, listen to podcasts, music or an audiobook to distract you. I use Aftershokz headphones, which are AMAZING. They’re bone-conducting (it’s like magic!) so they sit on your cheekbones, which means you can hear your music etc. while still being fully aware of everything going on around you – traffic, people and so on.


We are living in strange times, and I can honestly say that exercise has been one of the things which has helped me the most over the past year, in terms of helping me cope with all the worry and anxiety the pandemic has brought. Here’s to brighter times ahead!

Love Jackie x

Make sure to check out our Feeling Good Together campaign, where we’re regularly updating the page with fitness inspiration, wellbeing top tips and expert interviews to help support and inspire you throughout 2021.

25 Responses

  1. Hi Jackie

    I have found myself reading the presenter blogs more often, as I enjoy watching QVC but am not on social media. Your fitness journey is certainly inspirational. I too suffer with anxiety. For me, starting sewing during the first lockdown (and watching QVC) helped occupy my mind, but the amazing scenery in your pictures certainly looks like a tonic for the soul😀
    Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year

    Jules x

    1. Hi Jules,
      Yes sewing must be quite therapeutic too…I also find ironing very relaxing, which a lot of people find quite weird! Stay safe, happy new year.

  2. Hi Jackie loved watched you on Qvc for many years I looked at this and I suffer terribly with stress and feel that when I’m out walking its all better and you do feel much more exile rated so thanks for the tips and hints will see how I go. Your looking good and always keep us smiling

    1. Hi Cheryl, yes it’s amazing what a difference even a short walk can make isn’t it? Especially with everything that’s going on at the moment. Thank you for the kind words and happy new year!

  3. Hi Jackie, like you I’m late to the exercise thing. In the summer last year I started the couch to 5k and I absolutely loved it.
    I also suffer with anxiety which has got worse with the peri menopause. My only problem is I had to give up running due to knee injury. Do you have any tips? I do still walk fast lol but I find it doesn’t help the same.
    Karen xxx

    1. Hi Karen, yes couch to 5k is brilliant! And yes the old menopause thing can definitely make anxiety worse, it’s horrible isn’t it? I have back problems but have never had a knee issue so I can’t give you any direct advice on that…I see a physio and chiropractor regularly to keep on top of my back problem so maybe consult a physio about your knee? They may have some suggestions to keep you running! Good luck.

  4. Hi Jackie, running has never interested me and exercise sporadic. I have however been walking daily over the last 10 months, I try to go a different route each day, so as to yo ensure variety. It does, as with your running, ease the anxiety of the days we find ourselves enduring. Regardless of the weather I go walking, I find I don’t feel right if I’m not able to get out doors.
    QVC has been a great distraction, I thank you all for making the days pass easily. I wish you all you wish for yourself for 2021, a safer and happier year for all.

    1. Hi Karen
      Great to hear that walking helps, I feel the same as you – if I go more than a couple of days without a run I start to get twitchy! And I’m so glad QVC has helped too. Very best wishes for 2021 to you as well.

  5. We all need to work out in some way or another and find a way that suits us all.. Reading what you wrote has made me want to get fit. So have brought some stuff to do that and time up my body arms and all wobbly bits. Don’t have to spend a lot of money either. A certain pound land does some inexpensive stuff to help. At the moment reading your latest book really good…

    1. Hi Jennifer
      Yes you absolutely don’t need to spend much money to get fit, that’s so true. You can definitely slot working out into your life no matter how busy and you’re right, we all need to find a way that suits us and that we enjoy. Good luck with it (and thanks for the kind words!).

  6. Hi Jackie
    Spending most of lockdown enjoying reading. Just started your book The Perfect Couple and I can’t put it down
    Thank You

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      Thank you very much! I’ve been reading quite a lot too, good chance to catch up with my huge “to be read” pile!

  7. Hi Jackie I dont do Facebook or Twitter etc but saw your post .
    I’ve hit the dreaded menopause .dont like formal exercise and now comfort eating working from home since last March .Remind myself constantly how lucky I can still work as others not so lucky. I am about to start a healthy eating regime and exercise plan .Wish me luck I am a QVC addict and always enjoy your shows

    1. Hi Elaine,
      Yes the menopause doesn’t help does it? Good luck with your new regime and thanks for the kind words. Happy 2021!

  8. Hi Jackie, I so enjoyed reading your blog. I struggle with fitness having mobility issues but having recently lost 6stone in weight feel I should try to do a little more to get myself moving. You are an inspiration and you have motivated me to give it a go. Let’s see where 2021 leads me, best wishes from another Jackie x

    1. Hi other Jackie!
      That’s amazing, congratulations! Even more impressive if you have mobility issues. Good luck with your plans for 2021 and happy new year (a bit belated now I know!).

  9. I love to see you on qvc Jackie it cheers me up so much I live alone have fibromyalgia, I’m sure you no what it is Jackie ,just placed an order auto delivery hair wash from Canada T,S,V great guy ,super products ,sending lots of hugs to you Jackie ,

    1. Thanks Andrew, that’s nice to hear and I’m glad QVC is keeping you company! Hope you enjoy your new products.

  10. Hi Jackie, loved your blog, it’s so interesting that you are so fit now and that you took to it later in life, there is hope for me! I have been trying to run a few times a week (managed two 10k runs this week! Yay). Sometimes find it hard to motivate at the moment, life is very difficult but feel lucky to be working and I am also a big QVC fan. Really love your shows you always make me smile and you are very stylish! Thanks Jackie for inspiring me to keep going!

    1. Hi Ruby
      Haha, I think there’s always hope…my mum is in her 80s and has probably walked more in the last few years than ever before so I don’t think it’s ever too late. Glad to hear you enjoy running too, it’s addictive isn’t it? Agree that motivation is sometimes hard to come by though, especially at the moment. Thank you for the lovely words, good to hear from you.

  11. I too have found running and exercise later in life, I am 58. I go out every few days to maybe enjoy a few miles and then do a 5k or sometimes more. It’s not the first time my husband has come looking for me! I’m just trying to fit some strength training in there and need to get into a routine. Isn’t it amazing what us ladies can achieve? We run a guest house in St Andrews and it has definitely helped me with anxiety over the last year and have lost a stone in weight too. Thanks for the article.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Yay, that’s great to hear! I grew up in a B&B so I know how busy that life is and I’m so glad exercise helps. Let’s keep on achieving, eh? Happy new year.

  12. Also a ‘Cotswolder’ and after much (read, years! ) procrastination, finally started couch to 5k yesterday. I’m hoping to see you out on my travels! And any local route suggestions would be appreciated. (But I won’t be running in the beautiful Marc Fisher boots that you recommended! Haha!)

    1. Yay, well done! I only run off-road (fields, hills, woods!) so I tend to just follow public footpath signs near where I live and they take you across fields and so on. Canal paths are good too if you prefer flat routes. Depends where you live but the Cotswolds is full of amazing running routes…good luck!

  13. Hi Jackie, I love reading your stories. I have been ill for the past three years, just when we moved to the coast! I havnt been able to do any exercise or enjoy the beautiful beaches forests etc but hopefully I am having surgery soon and will be able to do so then. I am an avid Walker with my dog George, and my “happy” place is the beach. I just love it and feel that it just lifts all my worries and anxieties. I feel great after it. I have just started reading your books and they are brilliant. Well done you for fitting everything in. Now a completely off the scale question lol what tan do you and your colleagues use on QVC as it is always amazing looking. I am so white not getting out I need a body and possibly light face tan. I would appreciate your help. Keep up the good work love your relationship with Ruth Langsford and watch always here is to a healthy 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.