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15 Essential Health Based TED Talks

These 15 videos are essential TED Talks for anyone hoping to jumpstart their healthy living by turning around the ways they approach diet, exercise, and, in some cases, living.

TED Talks are academic level lectures that bring the complicated and lofty studies on business, science, and health down to earth. Each video packs tons of incredible, life-altering information into bite-sized packages that the average person can watch and enjoy. For those of us who are more health conscious, these important lessons can really have a huge impact on our lifestyles going forward. Because of that, I feel like it is my responsibility to share with you what I have found most inspiring on a personal level. These fifteen videos are essential TED Talks for anyone hoping to jumpstart their healthy living by turning around the ways they approach diet, exercise, and, in some cases, living.

Christopher McDougall: Are We Born to Run?

Running is one of the most popular ways to stay fit, but is there more to it than just the urge to perfect the self? In this TED Talk, Christopher McDougall explores the real life experiences of a marathon runner and tribes of people who devote their lives to running. Through analysis, McDougall seeks to determine if there is some ancient cultural reason we run?

For more information on Christopher McDougall, click here.

Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days

Making healthy changes can be hard. We may try to commit to a new lifestyle that we simply cannot incorporate or even enjoy. This TED Talk argues that's okay; just try it for thirty days. Matt Cutts argues to make a personal change for just thirty days. Long enough to see if you like it, and long enough to know you hate it. A healthy habit can be formed in very little time.

For more information on Matt Cutts, click here.

Ben Saunders: Why Bother Leaving the House?

No, this isn't going to encourage you to sit on the sofa eating potato chips. In this Health Based TED Talk, Ben Saunders, the youngest man to ski across the North Pole, encourages everyone to go outside in a world run by apps and websites. The world is full of excitement, and you shouldn't stick inside all day when a world beyond ours extends from sea to sea.

For more information on Ben Saunders, click here.

Derek Sivers: Keep Your Goals to Yourself

We live in a social media generation. Everything we do must be tweeted and shared to the world, so why not our work-out and fitness plans? After all, if we talk about getting fit online, that might motivate us to push on, right? Not so fast, according to Derek Sivers. This TED Talk shows us the dangers to our health by blogging about or plans, and how, sometimes, it's best to keep personal fitness plans...personal.

For more information on Derek Sivers, click here.

AJ Jacobs: How Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me

Health advice bombards everyone from all sides. Some of it is good, but a lot of it is either too extreme or too silly. What if someone tried every bit of health advice bouncing about online? Well, AJ Jacobs bit the bullet there. In this funny Health Based TED Talk, AJ Jacobs recounts his experience trying every bit of health advice he came across, and the ridiculous hijinks that ensued. 

For more information on AJ Jacobs, click here.

Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food

Jamie Oliver recounts an anti-obesity project partaken in Huntington, West Virginia in this TED Talk. Ignorance about food runs rampant throughout all society. Oliver describes many of his experiences, and the gross misconceptions society has about the quantity of sugar we consume on a regular basis. This is a must-watch for anyone interested in nutrition.

For more information on Jamie Oliver, click here.

Graham Hill: Why I'm a Weekday Vegetarian

The debate between vegans and meat-eaters will probably rage on forever, with each side becoming more vitriolic and aggressive about their stance as time passes. However, Graham Hill points out that, even considering the health benefits of vegetarianism, there is no reason to fully commit to one side. In this Health Based TED Talk, Hill proposes the life of the weekday vegetarian--the ideal middle ground for those who want to benefit from cutting out meats without wanting to cut out meats.

For more information on Graham Hill, click here.

Dan Buettner: How to Live to be 100+

People have searched for the secret of eternal life for centuries now. While TED Talks cannot grant you an unending existence, it can offer pointers on how to prolong your life. Dan Buettner, after studying some of the oldest people on the planet, shares the nine most common diet and lifestyle habits the eldest people on the planet all share... perhaps the secret to their extended life spans.

For more information on Dan Buettner, click here.

Daniel Kraft: Medicine's Future: There's an App for That

With our advancing times, it may seem that there is an app for everything. Need a ride? There's an app for that. Need food? An app. Bank statements? App! It stands to reason, then, that a medical diagnosis can be administered by a program. This TED Talk presents Daniel Kraft talking about the future of medicine, and how your health can be maintained simply by downloading one simple app.

For more information on Daniel Kraft, click here.

Dean Ornish: Healing Through Diet

We are what we eat. Food and health have been integrated in the healing process for years, but this TED Talk nails down that connection. Dean Ornish leads an intense discussion on low-cost methods to boost the body's natural healing mechanisms. All by eating the right foods.

For more information on Dean Ornish, click here.

Judson Brewer: A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

Bad habits can ruin a person's health. Smoking. Teeth grinding. Eating cheesecake after midnight. This TED Talk proposes a simple solution to all those unhealthy behaviors: understanding. Judson Brewer proposes that, by understanding the nature of our bad habits and the means as to why we develop them, we can, in turn, overcome and surpass these little tendencies that put a damper on our health.

For more information on Judson Brewer, click here.

Emily Balcetis: Why Some People Find Exercise Harder than Others

Some people can run 5Ks before sunrise, while others struggle to take a few steps. While many people claim to understand why this is so, Emily Balcetis proposes that the primary reason this is so has less to do with the body, and more to do with the mind. This Health Based TED Talk dissects how vision and perspective impact our health far more than our own physical fitness.

For more information on Emily Balcetis, click here.

Mick Cornett: How an Obese Town Lost a Million Pounds

When Mick Cornett became mayer of Oklahoma City, he became the leader of one of the most obese towns in America. This TED Talk explores the steps he took to trim the fat in his city. The steps he took to inspire change can not only help cities across the country, but also be the launchpad for an individual's weight loss journey.

For more information on Mick Cornett, click here.

Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend

When you're stressed, you feel like your heart will explode in your chest. You feel like you're going to die. But what if stress itself is less detrimental to your health than the belief that stress is bad? Kelly McGonigal argues in this insightful TED Talk that stress is only a fraction as bad as the fear of stress, and that, by embracing stress as a positive force, people can better themselves in countless incredible ways. And, of course, discusses a means to deal with stress: talking about it.

For more information on Kelly McGonigal, click here.

Ron Gutman: The Hidden Power of Smiling

In this simple bit of advice, Ron Gutman discusses the drastic, incredible benefits smiling can have on your health. Though it may seem like a small step toward a healthy lifestyle, it can have incredible benefits on the mind and body alike that cannot be overestimated. Watch this simple TED Talk to uncover the secret benefits of smiling more.

For more information on Ron Gutman, click here.

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