9 Books to Help You Get Fit and Stay Motivated
It’s always a good time of year to start working on health and fitness, and we’re here to help. From books about nutrition and exercise guides to books that touch on the science and philosophy of these fields, we’ve got you covered. So go forth, read a good health book, and get fit!
Psychiatrist John J. Ratey takes on the effects of exercise on the brain in Spark. We all know exercise is good for us, but Spark gives the hard facts: regular aerobic exercise can relieve stress, lift mood, fight memory loss, and elevate overall function. It's true! Ratey explores the mind-body connection through many case studies and shows that exercise truly is a powerful tool in changing your brain.
Brendan Brazier shares his vast nutritional expertise—from being a consultant for pro athletes to his own experience as a professional ironman triathlete—in Thrive Fitness, showcasing his system for health and wellness. The book offers step-by-step exercises with photos as an easy-to-follow guide. From beginners to experienced athletes, Thrive Fitness is the best book for your journey to getting fit.
Every Body Yoga is Jessamyn Stanley's essential guide to yoga. It's an inspiration for beginners and people of all shapes and sizes—and also an empowering book that challenges ideas of body acceptance. The book features 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, and is chock-full of beautiful photographs to break down the poses.
Mark Hyman is here to break every rule you think you know about what is considered a good or bad thing to eat. Food is a great health book with a comprehensive look at each food group and what humans have gotten wrong about them. Milk doesn't bind bones. Eggs aren't bad for you. Oatmeal actually isn't a great breakfast. In Food, Hyman debunks many ideas we've been taught about nutrition, and also shares the medicinal powers in the foods we eat.
Marathon runners live by different rules. Fitness journalist and training coach Matt Fitzgerald's The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition is a guidebook to those specific rules, to help avoid hitting the so-called "wall" in marathon running, wherein runners run out of fuel in the final miles. With training and nutritional guidelines, this is the perfect book for marathon runners of all levels.
"The Model Health Show" podcast host and nutritionist Shawn Stevenson is back with another health book about how to live smarter: this time, focusing on what we eat. Eat Smarter contains a 30-day plan for healthy eating, along with a deep dive into the science and history of food in all its glory.
Peter Park is a trainer for pro athletes and celebrities like Justin Verlander and Matthew McConaughey, so he knows his stuff. Rebound is a collection of his fitness tips, with a total body program focusing on core strength and functional fitness—without all the pain.
Tai Chi is the ultimate book about the ancient martial art. In this guide, Tai Chi master Arthur Rosenfeld shares everything he knows about the artform, complete with all the mental and physical benefits of Tai Chi, from easing chronic pain to resolving conflicts.
What to Read Next
Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them and writing about them for Book Riot. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color.