Kiyoji Tanaka, PhD, is professor in Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at the Institute of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He is also head of the Tsukuba Health Fitness Research Institute at Higashi Toride Hospital. Tanaka’s primary research interests are in the area of aging, physical activity, and exercise prescription. He is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Active Aging Community Center editors interviewed Tanaka in August 2009.
Why did you choose a career in aging and physical activity?
Japan has a growing aging population. Participation in physical activity can contribute to keeping a good quality of life, and I am good at leading exercise for middle-aged and older adults, including patients with chronic diseases.
Would you please describe your job at University of Tsukuba?
I teach undergraduate and graduate courses. The subjects are health and fitness promotion, sports for active aging, health management, measurement and evaluation in health and fitness, sports medicine, and so on.
You conduct research in the area of aging, physical activity, and exercise prescription. What research projects are you conducting now?
Lifestyle (diet and/or exercise) intervention for obese individuals, lifestyle (nutrition and physical activity) intervention for older adults with frailty, and development of new vital age equations.
Would you please describe your work with Tsukuba Health Fitness Research Institute?
Tsukuba Health Fitness Research Institute was founded in 1990 at a private hospital for cardiac and metabolic patients for enhancing QoL of patients and their
families. Tsukuba Health Fitness corporation was established in 2005. It is a university venture specifically aimed at health promotion of municipalities (towns and cities).
What is an important lesson that older adults can learn from your program?
We can reduce weight by as much as 20 pounds in three months. Participants in our weight management class are obese, middle-aged individuals. Participants in our active aging class are older adults where good nutrition without weight loss and exercise are instructed. We emphasize the importance and effectiveness of not only exercise but also diet (food consumption).