By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
Noted researcher Dr. Paul Arciero has devoted his career to helping people get more active and eat more natural, healthier foods.
Naturally, it all started in the dirt of a community garden.
“Some of my fondest childhood memories come from tending that garden with my mother,” Arciero said, recalling the hot summers harvesting in rural Connecticut. “Going there with her, tending to the earth, getting dirty – that was my introduction to healthy nourishment.”
He’s made the most of that early lesson, spending 25 years at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he is a professor of nutrition and exercise science and director of the Human Nutrition & Metabolism Laboratory.
Arciero has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific journals, but his education in the world of healthy living didn’t all come from the classroom or the laboratory.
He was also a top tennis player as a youth, in college – and even in recent years, when he and his brother John were ranked No. 12 in the United States Men’s 50 & Over Doubles. Arciero is also a triathlete who has coached hockey and tennis, among other athletic feats.
“My research has examined and explored the lifestyle strategies of physical activity and exercise training, combined with healthy eating,” he said. “It’s based on human science, not computer science. Having an understanding of the human experience is something I pride myself on.”
An important part of that experience has been family.
Arciero, the fifth of seven children, grew up gathering around for healthy meals and excelling in sports at school.
“My mother was ahead of her time, knowing that eating well is linked to how you feel and how you are,” he said.
In college at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, Arciero and his brother John were on a three-month tour with the European Satellite Tennis Circuit when his interests in exercise, nutrition and academia all snapped together.
“John helped me develop the ability to be more appreciating and conscious of the power of your mind,” Arciero said. “He was a tipping point of understanding my intellect.”
From there, Arciero went on to receive two masters of science degrees, from Purdue University and the University of Vermont. He earned a doctorate from Springfield College and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
The key themes of fitness and family continue with some of Arciero’s latest work as well. He recently developed a new app, with help from his son Nick, a developer and coder. The GenioFit app lets you know what you should eat when, and when you should exercise, Arciero said. He leads exercise videos in the app, as well as guided meditations.
“GenioFit embraces all the fundamental premises and mission of the research I’ve done, the organizations I represent, and who I am,” Arciero said. “It’s imperative that we engage in lifestyle strategies that engage healthy eating and exercise. There’s a synergy that lets us derive a significantly greater benefit when the two are together.”
When he’s not at work, Arciero can often be found – naturally – working with his wife Karen in the large garden in his yard that helps feed them and their three sons.