Spring into Spring with Healthy Habits

by Alyssa Yenzer

Spring into Spring with Healthy Habits

by Brittani Ivan, LIS Library Assistant 2

Spring is upon us at last! For a lot of us, warmer weather means we can really buckle down on New Year’s resolutions to get healthy. Of course, it isn’t always easy to find the motivation to go out for a run or play tennis in City Park, especially when it seems like everything we learned as children about exercise and nutrition is wrong now! Luckily Manhattan Public Library has got you covered, with some fascinating and up-to-date books that will help you put your best foot forward.

Bill Bryson’s “The Body, a Guide for Occupants” comes in at a hefty four hundred and fifty pages, making it just as useful for strength training as it is for giving you an inside look at how your body works. Bryson’s conversational style and extensive citations make it a great choice for anyone who has ever wanted to know more about how their body works and the ways it might go right (or wrong) based on their behaviors.

On that note, did you know that icing may actually slow down the healing process? Neither did I, but Christie Aschwanden’s “Good to go: what the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery” has the science to prove it. As Aschwanden tries out some of the most hyped recovery methods in today’s athletic world, you’ll learn about the importance of sleep, how recovery works, and just how many common sense practices in athletics today are backed up by nothing but hot air.

If your goal is less improving athletic performance and more improving your overall health, Lauren Kessler’s “Counterclockwise: my year of hypnosis, hormones, dark chocolate, and other adventures in the world of anti-aging” may be the book for you. Kessler deftly takes her own advice and weaves together “the power of fact and the resonance of story” to present a compelling narrative about the search for better health as we age. You’ll be enlightened by her straightforward explanations and charmed by her self-deprecating account of the effects (or lack thereof) of various anti-aging methods, from diet detoxes to daily exercise on your overall health and biological youth.

While knowing how different training and recovery regimes actually effect long-term health makes it a lot easier to feel motivated, you can’t outrun a bad diet. As eating well can be difficult, here are some great cookbooks to help you out:

While I’m not really much of a runner myself, “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes: A Cookbook” by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky is a stand-out for me. It combines recipes with advice on how to meal plan and budget effectively, and even includes some short exercise routines after each section. It’s much easier to remember to do strength training when your cookbook gives you a routine to do while you wait for your salmon to bake! I’m a particular fan of the Miso Butter Salmon and Amy’s Recovery Pizza.

If you, like me, want to improve both your health and the state of your wallet, Makiko Itoh’s “The Just Bento Cookbook” may be the book for you. The quick cooking times and “bento box” organization make it easy to craft balanced lunches to take to work or class. Some of my personal favorites are the Ginger Pork, Chicken Karage, and Edamame Tofu Nugget bentos, though one of the best features of this book is the ability to mix and match recipes to make personalized lunches that are still nutritionally balanced.

Lunch isn’t the only meal of the day, though, which is why I like Bree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman cooks dinnertime: comfort classics, freezer food, 16-minute meals, and other delicious ways to solve supper.” I’m a huge soup fan, and the Vegetarian Chili and the Hamburger Soup are filling, delicious, and best of all, reheat well. I tend to use this cookbook to create a healthy, large-batch meal to cut down on how much cooking I have to do throughout the week itself. And as an aside, I’ve got to say that the chocolate chip cookie recipe in this book is the best I’ve ever had!

So let’s all strap on our running shoes and start making our health and fitness goals a reality! If you want more recommendations on good non-fiction books about the science of athletics or a new cookbook to try out, come on by Manhattan Public Library and ask a librarian.