“Father of Aerobics” Turns 90, Challenges Us During Pandemic
Fitness – Through Exercise and Diet – Can Cut Toll of COVID-19 in U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 5, 2021) – Fitness pioneer, and the man known as the “Father of Aerobics,” Dr Kenneth H. Cooper, turned 90 in Dallas on Thursday, and challenged America and the world to make a new commitment to live a healthier life for at least the next 90 days, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Banzhaf, himself known as “Mr. Antismoking,” pointed out that improving fitness and living a healthier life has been shown to reduce the deadly toll of COVID-19.
Indeed, obesity is one of the major factors causing increased death, disability, and hospitalizations from COVID-19, and there is an ever growing body of evidence suggesting that exercise may protect against deadly COVID-19 complications, says Banzhaf.
So, in addition to wearing masks in public places, observing social distancing, and washing hands more frequently, those concerned about COVID-19 – not just surviving it, but also avoiding the long term health impairments which too often follow even mild cases – should try to get enough weekly exercise, as frequently measured by “Cooper Aerobic Points,” and commit to eating a healthier diet, suggests Banzhaf.
This advice is for everyone, including older Americans, who are at the highest risk from COVID. Dr. Cooper – who has logged more than 80,000 miles of running, walking, and cycling, and who still exercises regularly at 90 – provides an outstanding example, says Banzhaf, who has worked with “Ken” on public health projects for many years.
Dr. Cooper has long advocated moving the field of medicine away from disease management and towards disease prevention, and has accumulated the largest repository of scientific data showing that exercise is medicine, and can save lives and billions in unnecessary health care costs.
As he often counseled and even cajoled, fitness can add years to your life while adding life to your years.
Taking time from his many other busy activities both here and abroad where he has repeatedly been honored, Cooper served on the board of Banzhaf’s antismoking organization, and helped persuade many adults to quit, and kids not to start smoking.
He also joined Banzhaf in fighting obesity, collaborating with PepsiCo to eliminate trans fats from its Frito-Lay snack line, and inspiring other companies to make their food products healthier. Indeed, for years the back of Baked Lay’s packages included this quote from Dr. Ken Cooper, “Fitness is a journey, not a destination. It must be continued for the rest of your life.”