Here are the exercise routines that keep presidents fit

President Donald Trump golfing in Scotland.

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President Donald Trump golfing in Scotland.
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Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Image

When President Donald Trump had his first physical as a presidential candidate in December 2015, Dr. Harold Bornstein did not shy away from exaggeration.

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” he said.

In January, Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson gave Trump another, somewhat more down-to-earth health assessment. Jackson gave the president high marks for cognition, heart strength, and overall health, and recommended Trump reduce his cholesterol, improve his nutrition, and start a workout routine to lose 10 to 15 pounds.

Though Trump does practice healthy habits like refraining from smoking and drinking, he is not a fan of exercise.

“All my friends who work out all the time, they’re going for knee replacements, hip replacements – they’re a disaster,” Trump told The New York Times in 2015.

Trump isn’t the only president who didn’t like working out, though most were more active than he is. Here’s how he stacks up against past occupants of the Oval Office:


Other than golfing, Trump is not too hot on exercise, despite his insistence that he does work out. “I get exercise. I mean, I walk, I this, I that,” he once told Reuters.

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President Donald Trump golfs with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his private club in Palm Beach, Florida on February 11, 2017.
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Donald J. Trump/Facebook

Sources: CNN, Reuters


When Trump plays golf, he drives a golf cart. During the campaign, Trump also said he viewed rallies as a form of exercise.

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Trump in a golf cart at his resort in Doral, Florida.
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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Sources: Axios, The New York Times


President Barack Obama enjoyed golfing, too, which Trump frequently criticized him for.

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Obama and Vice President Joe Biden practicing their putting on the White House lawn in 2009.
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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider


Obama was also famously a pro at basketball, and he did 45 minutes of weight training and cardio every morning.

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Obama on the court.
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White House via Flickr

Source: Mental Floss


President George W. Bush was a leg guy. In his youth, Bush ran the Houston Marathon in well under four hours, and was an avid biker in his later years.

Source: Self


In 2004, Bush tumbled off his mountain bike on mile 16 of 17 at his ranch in Texas. He was wearing a helmet and mouth guard, so he just got a few scrapes and bruises. After the White House doctor fixed him up, Bush finished the course.

Source: Washington Post


President Bill Clinton was known for going on long jogs in the morning, often to McDonald’s. The White House had a “straggler van” follow behind him to pick up Secret Service agents who couldn’t keep up.

Sources: Self, Mental Floss


President George H.W. Bush enjoyed playing speed golf, according to the former director of the White House Athletic Center, adding more cardio to the otherwise leisurely game.

Source: Reuters


President Ronald Reagan, a former actor, was a fitness nut. He practiced an intensive workout program in order to keep all his muscles in shape following his 1981 assassination attempt.

Source: Self


President Gerald Ford wasn’t too hot on working out, but he did enjoy lounging in the pool he had installed in the White House.

Source: Self


While he played football in school, President John F. Kennedy’s back problems kept him from too strenuous of activities while he was in office. He did like to go sailing at the family’s summer home in Cape Cod.

Source: JFK Library


President Dwight D. Eisenhower made golf a presidential sport. He took it up in order to improve his fitness after a heart attack in 1955.

Source: Self, Mental Floss


In addition to taking 1.5-mile daily walks, President Harry Truman had a bowling alley installed in the White House.

Sources: Self, Truman Library


President Franklin D. Roosevelt was an avid swimmer, using it to keep his upper body in shape after being paralyzed from the waist down. He worked out in the water at least three times a week.

Source: Mental Floss


To stay fit, President Herbert Hoover’s physician invented “Hooverball,” a sport that involved throwing a medicine ball over a net. This gave Hoover a more diversified fitness routine than other pastimes might have.

Source: Self


Former President Calvin Coolidge was allergic to real horses, but he kept in shape by riding a mechanical horse instead.

source
National Archives

Source: Mental Floss


While the story that President William Howard Taft once got stuck in a bathtub is a myth, he did notoriously weigh over 300 pounds. His physical instructor outlined 15 exercises for him to do, including: “Lie flat on the back. Raise chin to chest and then back to floor pushing the arms along the side of the body as you raise the chin. 8 to 15 times.”

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Wikimedia Commons

Sources: National Constitution Center, Washington Post


President Theodore Roosevelt was obsessed with staying in tip-top shape. Not only did he love working out, he also practiced tennis, judo, boxing, polo, and of course, horseback riding.

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Roosevelt on a horse in 1915.
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Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Source: Mental Floss


President John Quincy Adams definitely took fitness seriously. He reportedly walked up to six miles every morning, and used to skinny dip in the Potomac River, once treading water for almost an hour without touching the bottom.

source
George P.A. Healy

Source: Self


President Thomas Jefferson was also fond of horseback riding, and once wrote that it is important to spend afternoons on “exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading.”

source
Wikipedia

Source: Self


Horseback riding presidents stretches back to George Washington, who was a skilled rider. The former general preferred to ride on his own rather than travel in a carriage.

source
Wikimedia Commons

Source: CNN


With company like this, Trump might just have to follow Dr. Jackson’s advice and step up his game.

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President Donald Trump walks on South Lawn of the White House upon his return in Washington.
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Thomson Reuters