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10 TED Talks on Health, Fitness & Wellness

Whether it harks back to the return to school season from our childhoods or it’s the refreshing release from the summer heat, September is a time that many of us take stock of our lives, look for ways to make changes and find fresh inspiration to do so. 

 
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TED Talks can be amazing motivators, so we’ve rounded up 10 of them that focus on health, fitness and wellness. Dive in:  

1. SHIMON SCHOCKEN: WHAT A BIKE RIDE CAN TEACH YOU. 

A computer science professor and avid mountain biker, Shimon Schocken spoke at TEDxTelAviv about the outdoor program he created to cycle with some of Israel’s juvenile inmates to share the life lessons he learned while riding. Great talk on how physical activity, nature and a challenge can affect our lives. 

2. JACQUELINE WAY: HOW TO BE HAPPY EVERY DAY - IT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

Founder of 365Give, a charity dedicated to educating, empowering, and inspiring children to change the world "one give, one day at a time,” Jacqueline Way promotes an idea at TEDxStanleyPark that we can all use to boost our happiness. It’s as simple as giving to others, she says - a theory that she tested by giving something away every day for a year. Research backs this up, showing that giving reduces stress and, indeed, makes us happy. 

3. EMILY BALCETIS: WHY SOME PEOPLE FIND EXERCISE HARDER THAN OTHERS.

Why is working out a chore for some people while others thrive on it? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shares some research at TEDxNewYork that addresses this. She shows how our vision makes a difference and how to work with this knowledge to become someone who enjoys physical activity.

4. RUAIRI ROBERTS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT - HOW YOUR BELLY CONTROLS YOUR BRAIN.

At TEDxFulbrightSantaMonica, nutritionist, microbiologist and neuroscientist, Ruairi Robertson looks at the connection between our stomachs and brains and how what we eat can influence both our physical and mental health. He refers to our bellies as our “second brain” and discusses the ways in which we can use nutrition to fight and prevent disease. 

5. DAN BUETTNER: HOW TO LIVE TO BE 100+.

New York Times bestseller and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner debunks common myths about longevity at TEDxTC. He studied the world’s “Blue Zones” where “communities live with vim and vigor to record-setting age.” He shares nine diet and lifestyle habits that will push us to live our best and longest lives.

6. MATT CUTTS: TRY SOMETHING NEW FOR 30 DAYS.

Have something in mind that you’d like to do but keep putting off for one reason or another? At TED2011, Matt Cutts challenged his audience to set a goal and try that thing for just 30 days. It seems to be the right amount of time or create (bike to work?) or get rid of (stop eating sugar?) a habit. 

7. CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL: ARE WE BORN TO RUN? 

Why do people have a desire to run? At TEDxPennQuarter, Christopher McDougall explores the ties to our history (human survival) and shares the story of a marathon runner with a “heart of gold” and a tribe in Mexico that runs to live. Research has shown that running is a way to get all parts of the body working harmoniously to promote health.

8. DAN GILBERT: THE SURPRISING SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS. 

What makes us happy? It’s not always what we think it will be, says Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert at TED2004. He talks about what will actually make us happier, supported by research, while promoting his book Stumbling on Happiness. We have what he calls a “psychological immune system”, a concept he explores on the stage. 

9. SCOTT GELLER: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SELF MOTIVATION.

Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology, Scott Geller took to the stage at TEDxVirginiaTech to talk about how we can become self-motivated. He asks three questions that, if answered, can lead us to feel empowered to reach our goals. 

10. AMY MORIN: THE SECRET OF BECOMING MENTALLY STRONG. 

How do we build the mental strength needed for marathons, triathlons and cycling races? Licensed clinical psychologist Amy Morin spoke on the 3 basic factors of mental strength - regulating our thoughts, managing our emotions, and behaving productively despite our circumstances - at TEDxOcala. 

Candyce Carragher