Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH - Cooper Complete
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Photo of Cooper Clinic founder Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH

For 50 years, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH has inspired millions to exercise for good health since the release of his first best-seller Aerobics in 1968.

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; eat healthy most of the time; exercise most days of the week; take the right supplements for you; stop smoking; 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. The Cooper philosophy, “It is easier to maintain good health through proper exercise, diet, and emotional balance than to regain it once it is lost,” has been proven valid in scientific research.

Dr. Cooper has lectured in more than 50 countries. He is most famous in Brazil having trained the 1970 Brazilian soccer team to a World Cup victory. As a result, jogging is translated as “coopering” in Portuguese. In Hungary, the “cooperteszt” is the name of the national fitness test.

In addition to Aerobics, which has been translated into 41 languages and Braille, Dr. Cooper has authored 18 additional books, which combined have sold more than 30 million copies. Dr. Cooper and son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, released Start Strong, Finish Strong in 2007. March 2013 marked the 45th Anniversary of Dr. Cooper’s bestseller, Aerobics. At that time, he also coined a new word and submitted the official definition to the Oxford English Dictionary.

During Dr. Cooper’s 13 years of service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, Dr. Cooper served as a flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory in San Antonio. He dreamed of becoming an astronaut and worked with the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) to help create the conditioning program preparing America’s astronauts for space and in-flight anti-deconditioning program used to keep astronauts active on board spacecraft. He also developed the 12-minute and 1.5-mile fitness tests and the Aerobics Point System, used today by military organizations, amateur and professional athletic teams, law enforcement agencies and public schools and universities worldwide.

In 1970 Dr. Cooper resigned from the military to explore the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and health and longevity. He founded Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas where he serves as Chairman of seven health and wellness companies and The Cooper Institute research and education nonprofit. Dr. Cooper’s mission is shared by his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Cooper Aerobics, and a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, plus 600 teammates—all working together to Cooperize the world.

Dr. Cooper’s work with the Air Force and NASA launched his aerobics life work, but it was his own health crisis that made it personal. While water skiing at age 29, Dr. Cooper thought he was having a heart attack. At the hospital, his doctor told him he was simply out of shape, having gained 40 pounds and becoming inactive due to the stress of medical school. That first-hand experience catapulted the young doctor to lose weight and run his first marathon, the Boston Marathon, one year later.

Born March 4, 1931, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Cooper’s father, a periodontist, instilled in him the idea and desire to practice preventive medicine. Dr. Cooper received a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine at The University of Oklahoma and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

At age 91 and having logged more than 38,000 miles running, Dr. Cooper sets an example for maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising at Cooper Aerobics Center on a regular basis.