5 TED Talks That Will Inspire You to Take Charge of Your Health

Health plays a big role in our overall sense of wellbeing. Obviously. If you’re not feeling well, you’re not going to feel happy. But for a lot of people —especially folks dealing with bigger health challenges than just a bout of flu, for example— getting healthy again can seem almost impossible.

There are plenty of simple ways you can upgrade your health, starting right now. However, the bigger issue at play here is mindset. We’ve been conditioned to believe that our health is in the hands of our doctor, rather than our own.

We need to change that. We need to take back the responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. Of course, there will always be a place for the medical profession, but we need to work in conjunction with our doctor rather than hand over the reins completely.

These five TED talks will inspire you to do just that, by offering you a range of tips and advice as well as case studies of people who’ve walked this path already. Grab a cup of green tea and some carrot sticks and dive in.

If you’re more of a coffee and Oreos kind of person (me too!), go ahead and treat yourself. When you’re done watching you probably won’t be so keen to indulge in these vices anymore. Or at least, not as often.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH WHAT WE EAT BY MARK BITTMAN

In this talk Mark Bittman, a New York Times food writer, asks an important question: What’s wrong with the way we eat now? In his opinion we eat too much meat and fast food and not nearly enough plants. He also bemoans the fact that home cooking has become a thing of the past. All of which, he says, putting the entire planet at risk.

Mark’s sentiments are echoed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the filmmaking duo behind Cowspiracy and What The Health. Both of which are must watch movies if you’re serious about taking charge of your health.

Bittman is not making a case for veganism, by his own admission he’ll probably never stop eating animals. However, he does make a strong case for being mindful about the food we eat. If we follow Michael Pollan’s 7 Rules for Eating or, as he so succinctly puts it, we ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants’ we’ll be well on our way to a healthier 2018.

HOW TO LIVE TO BE 100+ BY DAN BUETTNER

Determined to find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner studied the world’s ‘Blue Zones’ —five places in the world where people live the longest and are healthiest. Most people will immediately say they never want to get that old, but what if you were still fit, active and completely compos mentis at 103? Maybe receiving a letter from the Queen wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

Dan boiled his learning down to nine common traits, which he claims are shared by Blue Zones inhabitants around the globe. These are people who eat right (mostly plants), have the right outlook on life and make a point of connecting with others. Along with the resulting health benefits of living like these, there’s also another, often overlooked benefit of following the Blue Zones diet. It’ll save you money.

HOW AN OBESE TOWN LOST A MILLION POUNDS BY MICK CORNETT

When Mick Cornett took over as mayor of Oklahoma City, the mid-sized town had a big problem. It had cracked a spot on the Men’s Health list of the most obese towns in America. With more than a few pounds to lose himself, Mayor Cornett realized that for the city to thrive it had to become healthier, too.

With this in mind he decided on New Year’s eve 2007 that he decided to put the city on a diet. Oklahoma City, like so many other cities in the US, was designed around cars, not people. Mick changed that by making some simple but effective changes, such as making the streets more pedestrian friendly and creating more than a 100 miles of cycle paths. Later, his city made it onto Men’s Health’s list of fittest cities in America.

As much as you’re responsible for your own health, your environment plays a big role. Mick Cornett recognized this and its wisdom Dan Buettner confirms in his latest book The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People.

OWN YOUR BODY’S DATA BY TALITHIA WILLIAMS

High-tech self-monitors that measure things like heart rate, sleep, steps per day, etc. might seem like the domain of competitive athletes, but Talithia Williams argues that all of us should be measuring and recording simple data about our bodies every day.

A self-confessed stats geek, Talithia is all about the data. For many of us, myself included, the mere mention of the word has a soporific effect. However, she makes a good argument for waking up to the benefits of owning your own data.

For one thing, it can help you accurately diagnose a thyroid disorder. Who knew? On a bigger scale, it can assist you in avoiding a potentially expensive misdiagnosis. As Talithia says, medical doctors are experts on the population, only you are the expert on you.

YOUR GENES ARE NOT YOUR FATE BY DEAN ORNISH

Just because heart disease or diabetes runs in the family doesn’t mean you will automatically be saddled with them. In this talk Dean explains that while our genes may be our predisposition, they’re not our fate.

If we make bigger changes than we otherwise would have, we can actually change how they’re expressed. Changes to our lifestyle are powerful and dynamic and we don’t have to wait very long to see the benefits.

When you eat healthier, manage stress, exercise and love more, your brain gets more blood flow and oxygen. More importantly your brain gets measurably bigger. One study revealed that walking for three hours per week for only three months caused so many new neurons to grow that it actually increased the size of people’s brains.

A bigger brain is great, but there are other benefits, too. Your skin gets more blood flow when you change your lifestyle, so age less quickly. Your heart gets more blood flow, making it possible to reverse heart disease. Clogged arteries become measurably less clogged and you can even stop or reverse the progression of early prostate cancer.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

71 comments

Cindy S
Cindy Smith3 months ago

thanks

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Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thanks

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Paulo R
Paulo R4 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R4 months ago

ty

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Marigold A
Past Member 9 months ago

I took charge of my health a long time ago. It's simpler than you make it out to be.

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Mike R
Mike R9 months ago

Good advice. Thanks

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Anne F
Anne F9 months ago

I love using spreadsheet, entering data and having the color fill reflect how well I have met my goals! reminds me of gold stars at school or flowers on my piano pieces!

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