Sometimes, the hardest part of living a healthy lifestyle isn’t finishing your workout, but staying motivated outside the gym. If you’re looking serious motivation, these books are guaranteed to fuel your motivation to help you succeed and stay on track! Actually, these are the best books about health from On your rest day, curl up with a hot drink and a good book, and you’ll return to the gym with more vigor than ever before. Additionally, some of these books are full of practical information that will help you make better decisions about nutrition and exercise.
From a memoir of a Sierra Leone orphan turned into a top-notch ballerina, to a research expedition into the most basic sources of a meal, these are ten of the best book about health and fitness you will ever read.
1. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
One of the most acclaimed books about running, Born to Run begins with McDougall’s search for an answer to the question, why does my foot hurt? The search leads him to a reclusive area in Mexico where the Tarahumara Indians have perfected techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest. This is a well-constructed book that will help you realize the true potential of your body. It will make you consider if, perhaps, the human race was indeed born to run.
2. Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
Heminsley’s memoir is equal parts warm and funny. This is the story of a woman who decides to start running in her thirties. Snack consumed, playlist constructed, she sets out to run, only to discover just how difficult it is to get started. Heminsley’s memoir tells the truth about how brutal running can be, the difficulties, and the rewards. This is a book for any woman who has ever wanted to run.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has remained one of the most relevant books on diets for over a decade. Kingsolver and her family move to rural Appalachia. There, they take on the challenge of only eating locally produced ingredients. A blend of journalism and memoir, this book chronicles a year in the locally sourced diet of the Kingsolvers.
4. Elena Vanishing by Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle
Elena Dunkle’s memoir might be one of the most heart wrenching books you’ll ever read. It chronicles her struggle with anorexia spanning through high school and college. It’s an honest, poignant look at a deadly disease, how it can tear families apart, and how it can leave lasting scars.
5. The Omnivore’s Dilema: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
One of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year, this book is an exploration of the choices we make regarding food. It examines how these choices affect our surroundings politically, socially, morally, and ecologically. Michael Pollan takes four meals and traces them to their origins, shedding light on the question what are we eating?
6. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Perhaps the least upbeat on our list, The Emperor of All Maladies is still fully worth the read. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this book is a beautifully written, profound history of cancer. It begins with the first documented case of the disease (some thousands of years ago), and covers both unfortunate misconceptions and groundbreaking discoveries. Yet throughout the account, the book remains supremely humane, a beautiful story full of hope for human endurance.
7. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince
An orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone, Michaela DePrice finds a picture of a beautiful ballerina. This simple event kickstarts her inspiring story. At four years of age, an American family adopts Michaela and give her a chance to follow her passion for dance. Taking Flight is an inspiring memoir where DePrince tells her story going from an orphan in Africa to a star ballerina.
8. Ever Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley
Jessamyn Stanley challenges our conceptions of a healthy body. This book is the perfect inspiration for those of us who have held back because of insecurities. As the TIME’s review stated “Thirty-six million people practice yoga in the U.S., and Jessamyn Stanley knows they cannot all be a size 2.”
9. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
An inspiring collection of comics that also delivers big on laughs. Matthew Inman (the creator of The Oatmeal) talks about his love and struggles with running, using relatable metaphors that will speak to anyone who has ever exercised for the promise of a sugar-loaded donut (probably all of us).
10. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is the best-selling author of numerous sci-fi novels and surrealist short stories. He also happens to be an ultra-marathon runner. This memoir deals with his intertwined processes of writing and running. It’s a book that speaks to dedication and hard work, as well as passion and reward. It’s a beautifully written work that will inspire you to work towards your goals, even if it’s one step at a time.