How to Promote Physical Activity Across the Life Span: Tips From Grasshoppers, Ants … and Eleanor Metheny

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R. Scott Kretchmar Department of Kinesiology, Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA

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This paper addresses two of the recurring themes of the 2023 National Academy of Kinesiology meeting—namely, how to articulate the value of physical activity most forcefully and how to promote it most effectively. Authors of several papers placed an emphasis on the values of well-being, particularly those related to health, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and exercise persistence. Yet, there was an acknowledgment that we had not been sufficiently effective in winning converts to activity across the life span. Questions were also raised, both implicitly and explicitly, about our unity in kinesiology and where we (or different parts of us) belong in university structures. I address these issues by employing two characters from The Fables of Aesop (the grasshopper and the ant) in addition to the philosophies of G.K. Chesterton and Eleanor Metheny. I present a paradoxical model for kinesiology that focuses on how different movements mean and celebrates extreme levels of diversity amid unshakable unity.

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