The Best Health and Fitness TED Talks You Don’t Want to Miss

Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to get active and enjoy the weather. Yet after a whole winter of hibernating indoors, it can be tough getting yourself back into the rhythm of things. Trust me – I know. I’ve gotten pretty well acquainted with my couch over these past few months. Sometimes we need a little extra push to kickstart a new wellness routine, and if the sunshine and short sleeves aren’t motivation enough for you then I have the perfect TED Talk playlist to help get you back in the game.

Are We Born to Run?  by Christopher McDougall

Christopher McDougall’s talk about running is required watching for every winter couch potato. Turns out running isn’t just the latest exercise fad. Humans are actually…cue the Springsteen…born to run. Sarah Koppelkam sums it up this way: “Using his knowledge of evolution, anthropologist and author Christopher McDougall explains the surprising ways that running helped early humans run their world. McDougall’s explanation of why humans are built to move will inspire you to hit the road.” McDougall’s TED talk about running came on the heels (pun alert!) of his runaway bestseller (pun alert x2!) that I highly recommend.

Teach Every Child About Food  by Jamie Oliver

We can’t talk about fitness and wellness unless we also talk about diet. In Jamie Oliver’s prize-winning talk he calls for a global food revolution where we address the systemic problem of how we relate to food and eating. As Rachel Daily describes it, “Jamie Oliver is fighting to reduce obesity rates in America (and his home country, the U.K.). His passion for this topic jumps off the stage in this TED talk. He’s not afraid to tell us exactly how bad the obesity epidemic is and exactly how much work it’s going to take to fix it.” This talk is a great starting point to get you thinking about your own eating habits and ways to incorporate food into a healthy and active lifestyle.  

Why Some People Find Exercise Harder than Others  by Emily Balcetis

Confession time. After a long day at work I often don’t have the energy to exercise. I see people in their workout clothes on the subway and on the streets – even coming out of my building as I’m heading into my apartment – and I find myself asking myself why I don’t have their energy and their motivation. Social psychologist Emily Balcetis gives an informative talk that answers this very question. Turns out it’s not just a lack of willpower. The research shows that our motivation to exercise all comes down, as Becca Dicenso says, to “what influences us to view health and fitness differently from each other. The level of difficulty for someone to exercise varies based on the way we look at it.” Finding the motivation to exercise may just be a matter of assessing and remembering your own goals and expectations.

How to Make Stress Your Friend  by Kelly Mcgonigal

Feeling a little stressed about the hard work ahead of you? Never fear – this bonus talk is here! In this mega-popular TED talk, health psychologist Kelly Mcgonigal delves into our relationship with stress. Mcgonigal demonstrates that we can actually change our body’s response to stress by simply redefining the way we think about stress. Amazing, isn’t it? Stress can be an empowering tool that helps us lead happier and healthier lives. Watching this TED talk is time well spent.