Who's the fittest of them all?
As our attention turns toward the election and we think deeply about what direction we want our country to go in, we might find we need a little diversion (why else the binder tumblrs, big bird jokes and other memes?). But we at HuffPost Healthy Living have already moved past Menacing Josh Romney and turned our attention to fitness -- presidential fitness that is. And apparently we aren't the only ones: Gold's Gym actually held a tournament among 4,000 of their fans to determine the fittest president in history. Their pick? So far, George W. Bush is slightly edging Pres. Barack Obama out of the lead.
And while Bush is known for his cycling and jogging -- and Obama for his pickup basketball games and early morning training sessions, they both have a little competition from the likes of John Quincy Adams, Herbet "Hooverball" Hoover and Theodore Roosevelt, a real, actual cowboy. Along with the history lesson, it got us thinking: If these men can manage to keep a workout routine while leading the free world, surely the rest of us can let go of our excuses.
John Quincy Adams
Adams lived to the ripe old age of 80, perhaps in part due to a dedicated active lifestyle: the sixth president <a href="http://millercenter.org/president/jqadams/essays/biography/7">swam nude in the Potamac river each morning</a> and preceded dinner with a three-to-four mile walk.
Roosevelt was <a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/876071.html">an <em>actual</em> cowboy.</a> The outdoorsy 26th president was so fond of nature-related activities that he trekked the Amazon and went on Safari in Africa. He also was an accomplished hunter and boxer.
Lest you think Obama is the first president to drive a ball on the White House tennis courts, Hoover did so each morning. The difference? A doctor created a whole new ballgame for Pres. Hoover called, appropriately, <a href="http://www.hooverassociation.org/newsevents/hooverball/hooverball_rules.php">Hooverball</a>. The game most resembled volleyball and involved interval training with a medicine ball.
Harry S. Truman
A champion of lawn sports, Truman installed the first horseshoe court on the White House lawn. Later, during a renovation, he put two <a href="http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/floor0/bowling-alley.htm">bowling lanes in the basement</a>. What's more? According to reports at the time, <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2009/August/Walking-Your-steps-to-health">he was an avid walker</a> who regularly outpaced his security team.
Ford's <a href="http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/grf/fordbiop.asp">accomplished football career</a> culminated in a spot on University of Michigan's roster, but only because he turned down offers from the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears to pursue law school. That doesn't mean he got soft: Ford stayed fit with swimming and golf and lived to be 93.
George W. Bush
Though he was the 43rd president, Bush was the first marathon runner to enter the office. What's more, <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/celebrity-marathon-times">he managed to finish the Houston Marathon</a> in under four hours -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/paul-ryan-marathon-lie_n_1858384.html">more than VP hopeful Paul Ryan can say</a>. Bush is also an avid cyclist.
The basketball lover is as dedicated to fitness as his more outspoken wife; <a href="https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpt3wq">exercising for 45 minutes, six days a week</a>. And that's <em>in addition</em> to the pickup basketball games he plays to bond with staff -- and to assuage his anxiety on election days.