10 TED Talks to Enhance Your Pursuit of Fitness

When Motivation Flags, Listen to a TED Talk

TED Talks - short talks put on by thought leaders in all fields - are designed to spark curiosity. These talks offer insight into the latest research on science, motivation, leadership and change, as well as many other subjects. If you're not already an avid TED Talk listener, it's time to add a few talks to your inspiration bank. The following 10 talks aren't all directly related to exercise, but they all offer insights that can help enhance your pursuit of fitness and overall well-being. 

Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others

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Getty Images/Predrag Vuckovic

By: Emily Balcetis

Time: 14 minutes

Topic: Why do some people struggle more than others to lose or maintain weight? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that looks at how vision - literally what you see - can affect your view of diet and exercise. 

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Your Genes Are Not Your Fate

By: Dean Ornish

Time: 3 minutes

Topic: Think you're destined to be slow, heavy or subject to heart attacks because your parents were? Think again. Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.

Fun fact, I actually carry a gene for obesity, but I've never been obese in my life. We are not destined to be only a product of our genes. 

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How an Obese Town Lost a Million Pounds

By: Mick Cornett

Time: 15 minutes

Topic: Hey, if a city can lose a million pounds, surely you can lose five or 10, right? Mayor Mick Cornett shares how Oklahoma City, as a group, decided to overcome their reputation as one of the most obese towns in America. He walks listeners through the changes that helped OKC drop a collective million pounds.

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Try Something New for 30 Days

By: Matt Cutts

Time: 3 minutes

Topic: When you have almost no time at all and need a little "oomph" in your motivational step, this three-minute talk from Matt Cutts will get you up and running... if only for 30 days. 

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The Key to Success: Grit

By: Angela Lee Duckworth

Time: 6 minutes

Topic: This short TED Talk from Angela Lee Duckworth may be related to education, but the message is bigger than success in school. It's about grit, and how long-term success doesn't come from a sprint, but from marathon-like tenacity. 

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Why Dieting Doesn't Usually Work

By: Sandra Aamodt

Time: 13 minutes

Topic: In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old, which is a terrible, terrible shame. Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt shares her own story and shares how the science behind dieting sets people up for failure, doing more harm than good. Luckily, she also provides a better, healthier solution to the typical diet. 

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The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

By: John Wooden

Time: 18 minutes

Topic: John Wooden may have been one of the most obviously successful basketball coaches to ever coach the game, but he doesn't define success the way the world defines it. With simplicity, he shares his definition of success and how it's possible for each of us to find our own success, regardless of external or materialistic perceptions. 

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The Power of Believing That You Can Improve

By: Carol Dweck

Time: 10 minutes

Topic: Carol Dweck's "growth mindset" research touches on the importance of the phrase "not yet." It's the idea that just because you're faced with a challenge, or even a failure, your mind still has the capacity to grow and you have the capacity to succeed, just maybe "not yet." It's a powerful way to think about physical challenges in fitness, weight loss and sport. 

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What a Bike Ride Can Teach You

By: Shimon Schocken

Time: 15 minutes

Topic: When Shimon Schocken brought the world of mountain biking to juvenile inmates in Israel, amazing change took place - not just for the youth, but for Schocken, too. His stories are evidence of how challenge, physical activity and the great outdoors can affect a person's life. 

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A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

 By: Judson Brewer

Time: 10 minutes

Topic: Bad habits - we all have them, and they're certainly not easy to break, particularly when it comes to unhealthy habits like stress eating and smoking. In this TED Talk, psychiatrist Judson Brewer shares a simple solution - curiosity - that can be implemented to help anyone learn more about their habits and how mindfulness can help lead to a change in behavior. 

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