January 18, 2022—Dubbed the “Father of Aerobics”, Dr. Kenneth Cooper revolutionized the world of fitness in the 1960’s. After developing an exercise program, he founded the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, with a mission of conducting research on the lasting benefits of exercise and physical fitness. Cooper’s vision had a profound effect on many, including three former employees. In their new memoir, Tom Collingwood, Roger Reynolds and John Poteet recall their personal experiences at the Cooper Institute.

"As we are now in our golden years, we have found time to reflect on our life's work advancing the mission of the Cooper Institute," the authors said.

While looking back on their time and roles over the span of 35 years at the Cooper Institute, the authors came to recognize how they possessed a genuine sense of purpose and zeal for the institute’s mission similar to that of missionaries for the gospel. Framing their work as “missionary” outreach, the authors also relate how collaboration with other professionals was an integral part of their success story. Aiming to spread a message of positivity and unity, the authors seek to illustrate how dedicated people with a missionary style commitment can make a real difference in the world.

“In this day and age of division and dissention, a story of uniting for the common good is sorely needed,” the authors said. “This is the story of a group of diverse fitness and health professionals with different backgrounds and mindsets coming together to effect positive change in other people’s lives.”

Changing the World’s Exercise Habits: A History of Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s Fitness Missionaries is available for purchase online at Amazon.com.

About Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper

For 50 years, Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., MPH, has inspired millions to exercise for good health with the release of his first best-seller Aerobics. Today, Dr. Cooper is revolutionizing health and fitness again—calling on America and the world to Get Cooperized. As a leading pioneer of preventive medicine, Dr. Cooper challenges everyone to follow these “8 Healthy Steps” to live better both sooner and later: maintain a healthy weight; make healthy food choices most of the time; exercise most days of the week; take the right supplements for you; do not use tobacco; control alcohol; manage stress; get a regular, comprehensive physical exam. Recognized as the leader of the international physical fitness movement and credited with motivating more people to exercise in pursuit of good health than any other person, Dr. Cooper has long advocated moving the field of medicine away from disease treatment to disease prevention.

About the Authors

Tom Collingwood, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized leader in the field of physical fitness and outdoor education. He holds degrees in both exercise science and psychology. He developed the Continuing Education Division of the Cooper Institute and has trained thousands of fitness leaders worldwide. He was a primary fitness consultant for the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, The International Association of Chiefs of Police, and with the U.S. Army. He is the recipient of the Healthy American Fitness Leader award as one of the ten outstanding physical fitness leaders in the nation.

Roger D. Reynolds, M.A., attended Bowling Green State University on an athletic scholarship, earning a BS in health and physical education. He continued his education at Western Michigan University, graduating with an MA in health and physical education. His 45-year career included corporate, law enforcement, military, clinical, educational medical, and serving as a professional instructor for thousands of personal trainer certifications. Roger concluded his career working at the world-renowned Cooper Institute for 39 years. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, United States Secret Service Training Award, New York State Teachers Outstanding Service Award, Texas Tactical Police Officers Association, Michiana area Chamber of Commerce man of the year, U.S. Customs Training Award, U.S. Army Outstanding Service Award, and is the recipient of the distinguished Dr. Richard Bohannon award as the outstanding Cooper Institute employee.

John Poteet, Ed.D., is an educator with 49 years of teaching experience. In 1977, he received his Ed.D. in Exercise Physiology and Educational Psychology from the University of North Texas in Denton. In 1982, he became Associate Director of Continuing Education at The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research during which time he trained hundreds of fitness leaders throughout the United States before retiring in 2004. At the age of 92, John is still teaching by example as he continues to participate in a program of sensible, purposeful physical activity designed to enhance longevity, functionality, general health, and joy.

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