David Conroy, professor of kinesiology at Penn State, was recently named to the 2022 President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Science Board.
The board is charged with providing scientific expertise, supporting implementation of programs, and developing reports for the broader council. In January, the board began developing a report that will provide recommendations on how to increase physical activity among older adults.
“It is my honor to serve with such a dynamic and distinguished group of experts,” said Conroy. “More importantly, the work we are doing really matters. Increased physical activity could improve the lives of millions and millions of older adults.”
Physical activity reduces the risk of chronic disease for everyone. For older adults, it also helps to prevent falls, slows the progression of existing chronic diseases, and enhances cognitive function. Despite this, only around 14% of Americans over the age of 65 are meeting national recommendations for physical activity.
“To put it bluntly: physical activity is healthy, and sitting for too long is unhealthy,” said Conroy. “Research shows that you don’t need to run a marathon to make a difference for your health, especially when you are older. Moving more and sitting less than you usually do has health benefits by itself. Whatever your physical abilities are, you should be moving your body to the extent that you can. Our board will work diligently to identify what works to help older people engage in more physical activity.”
Conroy’s own research focuses on the psychology of physical activity and health behavior change. He studies how to encourage people to make lasting changes in their levels of physical activity in order to live happier and healthier lives. Currently, he is working on a broad range of research projects, including a multiyear project to develop wearable technology that can track and encourage physical activity among older adults.