Kenneth Hardy Cooper

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Kenneth Hardy Cooper

Kenneth Hardy Cooper

“Dr. Kenneth Cooper added the word ‘aerobics’ to the dictionary. He has dedicated his life to ‘preventive medicine,’ the science of staying well.”
Paul Harvey, 1994


Oklahoma native Kenneth “Ken” Hardy Cooper graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1952, Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1956, and from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1962. A former Lt. Colonel in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Air Force and Senior Flight Surgeon, Cooper has authored such best-selling books as The New Aerobics, The Aerobics Way, and Aerobics for Women, which he co-authored with his wife Millie. Known around the world as the father of aerobics exercise, he became one of the most respected voices on the subject of preventive medicine and lectured in every state in America and on nearly every continent. He established a combination research facility, health club, and clinic in Dallas, the Cooper Clinic, and his Institute for Aerobics Research began long-term studies proving the link between exercise and lifespan in the early 1980s. In 1977, he received the Daniel Webster Award for the “most important speech on the most important problems facing the U.S. and its citizens” and received the Distinguished Service Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Fun fact

Kenneth Cooper was an Air Force doctor working to devise an exercise program for astronauts to use in space when he published his findings in his first landmark book, Aerobics, in 1968. The word “aerobics” soon became a household name around the world…and in outer space!

Oklahoma connections

Cooper was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and a graduate of Putnam City Schools.


Oklahoma City







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