The 10 Best TED Talks for Health and Fitness

November 11, 2019 - 8 minutes read

TED Talks are a fantastic source of insight into the cutting-edge research that’s being done by some of the world’s best storytellers. Through the TED and TEDx series, you can view thousands of talks on hundreds of topics, including our favourites: the mind, the body, food and stress. To give you a bit of help with narrowing things down, we’ve curated a collection of our top picks to help inspire you to live your happiest and healthiest life yet.

Wendy Suzuki – The brain-changing benefits of exercise

If you could improve your mood, accelerate your focus and protect your brain from alzheimers and dementia, would you do it? Professor of neuroscience, Wendy Suzuki, explains how at the height of her research in memory, a personal revelation pushed her to switch her focus toward the science of why exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain. Learn from a self-proclaimed “exercise-explorer” how exercise changes the brain’s anatomy, physiology and function and how you can gain those very benefits in your own life.

Watch the full video here: The brain-changing benefits of exercise | Wendy Suzuki

Emily Balcetis – Why some people find exercise harder than others

Why is it that some people struggle more than others when it comes to exercise and managing their weight? Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist, delves into her vision research and offers insight into how a person’s body type, internal motivation and way in which their eyes take in information can literally change the way they perceive fitness. Offering a simple solution to overcome these preconceptions, Emily suggests that while we all see the world through our own mind’s eye, we can teach ourselves to see it differently and make the challenges we face everyday a little bit easier.

Watch the full video here: Why some people find exercise harder than others | Emily Balcetis

Sandra Aamodt – Why dieting doesn’t usually work

There’s no denying that diets can help you lose weight in the short term but why is it that most of us will gain it right back? Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt presents a compelling case on how your brain works as a thermostat for your weight and why dieting can cause you to feel hungrier and lower your metabolism in the long run. Learn about your body’s “set point” and why mindful eating is the best approach to replace the harmful effects of dieting. 

Watch the full video here: Why dieting doesn’t usually work | Sandra Aamodt

Ruben Meerman – The mathematics of weight loss

When you lose weight, where does it go? In this witty and educational TED Talk, physicist Ruben Meerman uses visual science to explain digestion, metabolism and the misconception that what you eat can be turned into energy. As an added bonus, we get an introduction into climate change and why we shouldn’t trust diet gurus. Watch this talk then heed his advice to “eat less, move more and keep breathing.”

Watch the full video here: The mathematics of weight loss | Ruben Meerman

Dr. Alia Crum – Change your mindset, change the game

Inspired by the placebo effect, professor and psychologist Dr. Alia Crum breaks down her research into the very real power of mindset. Using housekeepers and milkshakes to illustrate just how influential a simple change in mindset can be, this talk explores the behavioural, psychological and physiological mechanisms that can be objectively altered with a little tweak in perspective.

Watch the full video here: Change your mindset, change the game | Dr. Alia Crum

Dr Joanna McMillan – Eat for real change

The love of food has been lost and Dr. Joanna McMillan intends on finding it again. Explaining the idea that creating a healthy relationship with food is as just important as eating nutritiously, Dr. McMillan presents her concerns that we’re starting to see food as merely a sum of it’s parts. Take a listen to learn about the social connection and cultural impact that food can have and how to create a relationship with food that works for you.

Watch the full video here: Eat for real change | Dr Joanna McMillan 

Ogie Shaw – Winning the mental battle of physical fitness and obesity

When 57% of American children between 6 and 17 years of age are routinely failing physical fitness tests, it’s time to intervene. Ogie Shaw, a veteran with a degree in Physical Education, explains the need for adults to change their behavior in order to influence our kids to eat better and be more active. Enjoy a bit of humour as he dives into how to win the mental battle of getting active, what to consider when adding exercise into your life, and why making healthy living a lifestyle choice is so important.

Watch the full video here: Winning the mental battle of physical fitness and obesity | Ogie Shaw

Guy Winch – How to practice emotional first aid

We all understand the need to take care of our bodies, but why don’t we practice the same courtesy when it comes to our minds? Guy Winch presents an intriguing comparison of physical injuries to psychological ones and explains why we need to stop treating our emotional hygiene with a lower importance.

Watch the full video here: How to practice emotional first aid | Guy Winch

Matt Walker – Sleep is your superpower

Sleep scientist, Matt Walker, has some eye-opening fact to share about the dangerous effects of sleep deprivation. With a focus on both the brain and the body, we’re walked through the changes in learning, memory, the immune system and even the genetic code that are significantly changed by sleep (or lack thereof). Grab a pillow, cuddle up, and learn some helpful tips on getting a restful night’s sleep.

Watch the full video here: Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker

Kelly McGonigal – How to make stress your friend

On a mission to help people feel healthier and happier, Psychologist Kelly McGonigal wants to change the way we view stress in our lives. Using the new science of stress as a guide, she explains how the body’s response can widely vary depending on whether we view stress as a harmful or a helpful part of life. With cases of anxiety and depression on the rise, this TED Talk is a helpful guide to feel more confident in stressful situations and simply be better at being stressed.

Watch the full video here: How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal