TED On The Run

By Emily Abedon

By the end of this year my running shoes will have exceedingly worn treads. It’s the same old New Year’s resolution, but with a promising new tool. The TED app (available for Apple and Android) on my phone is the heart of my exercise stimulus plan; it’s a boredom-busting workout buddy that motivates me to move.

There are hundreds of talks tagged by topic, or you can use the “Inspire Me,” function, and pick from a handful of suggested speakers. I choose my TED by whatever happens to capture my fancy on that day. But when I am pounding the pavement, there are three categories I avoid. I stay away from “Extreme Sports.” Though I love Diana Nyad’s mantra, “never, ever give up,” I need no reminder that my thirty-minute, plodding jog is no record-setting, long-distance swim. Paradoxically, I also avoid “Gaming.” So many technological temptations threaten to serve as rationalization for staying on the couch. And although, when I am sedentary, “Art,” is one of my favorite TED topics, I steer clear of those visual-abundant talks when I am on the move, for fear of running into a tree.

With TEDxCharleston coming soon (Save the date: April 8th!), I’ve found myself drawn to lecturers who share their ideas about a Ripple Effect, which is the theme our local speakers are tackling this spring. Since TED is, above all, about “Ideas Worth Spreading,” there is no shortage of people making waves to invite into my headphones; but lately, my favorite place to be engrossed by potential and wide-reaching impact is in the medical world. Though I can’t quantify the calorie-burning boost that might result from the optimistic doctors and researchers to whom I lend my ear, I must declare that it puts some serious pep in my step to learn about the latest breakthroughs.

Among my favorite cardio companions are Gregoire Cortine’s “The Paralyzed Rat That Walked,” and Rebecca Onie’s “Can We Rewrite The DNA Of The Healthcare System?” But the talk I think is so cool that I had to share it with my teenagers is “Body Parts On A Chip,” delivered by cell biologist, Geraldine Hamilton, whose lab combines human cells with computer technology in an effort to “revolutionize” medical research. Hamilton’s collaborative team, from a “convergence of disciplines,” is working to find new cures, improve the delivery of pharmaceuticals to patients, and lower the cost of treatments. How awesome is that? Awesome enough to guide me through a three-mile scamper in my sneakers, almost totally pain free.          

Download the official TED App from the iTunes Store for iPhone and iPad or the Google Play Store for Android devices.

*Gregorie Cortine’s TED Talk

*Rebecca Onie’s TED Talk

*Geraldine Hamilton’s TED Talk