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Changing the World's Exercise Habits: 

A History of Dr. Kenneth Cooper's Fitness Missionaries

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, often called the Father of Aerobics, developed an exercise system in the late 1960s that revolutionized the exercise habits of America and the whole world. He is the visionary who created the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, Texas, (the mission), and developed a high-energy staff (his team of missionaries) committed to spreading his mission of health and wellbeing worldwide. The Cooper Institute was established to conduct research into the effects of fitness and exercise on a person’s overall wellbeing, and then to transfer that knowledge into educational and other outreach service programs which could be a positive force for health through the world.

Changing the World's Exercise Habits: A History of Dr. Kenneth Cooper's Fitness Missionaries

This unique history is the fascinating story of Dr. Cooper’s mission to help people develop a physically active lifestyle that would have profound implications for their health and wellbeing, and encourage a fuller and longer life. Not intended to be a comprehensive history, it is the story of the process, and of the highly diverse group of fitness and health professionals from different backgrounds and skills who came together as a team to make it happen. The memoir contains the reflections of Dr. Tom Collingwood, Roger Reynolds, M.A. and Dr. John Poteet, telling of their personal experiences in the many projects and services they were involved in over their thirty-five years at The Cooper Institute.


Adult fitness exercisers and fitness professionals who are interested in learning more about how helping others to be physically active can translate to a variety of human benefits, this book is for you.

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A portion of the proceeds from book sales will benefit research at The Cooper Institute.

"Roger, Tom and John succinctly summarized the history, tradition and offerings at the Cooper Institute. They presented an overview of the programs that were offered and the impact it had on thousands of individuals over a 35 + year career. The personal stories of the authors at the end of the book were especially poignant and showed how their upbringing and personal life experiences contributed to the success of the Cooper Institute."

Barry S. Brown, Ph.D.,  FACSM

University Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas 

"Love this book! You will laugh, learn and be inspired by the trail-blazing successes of these 3 zealous fitness experts who led historical “missionary journeys” that circled the globe, spreading the good news of fitness benefits as first identified by Dr Kenneth Cooper, MD “Father of the Aerobics movement.”

Georgia Kostas, MPH, RDN

Founder and Former Nutrition Director Cooper Clinic. 

“You guys did a fabulous job.“

Dr. Joel Woodburn

Former Medical Staff  - The Cooper Clinic 

"You, Tom and John did a masterful job writing this outstanding history (and missionary purpose) of the legendary Cooper Aerobic Center  with  specific focus on the Cooper Institute). I am extremely honored to be mentioned with respect to our Circuit Training Research Study we conducted at  Langley Air Force Base. The content of this superb book is awesome and brings back many wonderful memories of events and  people who strongly influenced my life personally and professionally since I first read Aerobics in 1968. Equally impressive is that your style of writing is perfect. You make the reader feel part of the Cooper Aerobics Center Family. It is like we are right there with your team as we turn each page. I am exceptionally pleased to be your friend and extremely proud of you and all that you have done to help tens of thousands of fitness professionals and even more exercise participants enjoy the many benefits of an active lifestyle."  

Wayne L. Wescott, PhD

Quincy College - Professor / Coordinator Exercise Science

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