Three-quarters of Americans think it's important our next POTUS be fit, but just how healthy are Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and the other contenders?
Last night's Democratic debate covered a lot of topics important to voters, but there was one they didn't cover (or perhaps didn't know was quite so important to us): the presidential candidates' commitment to fitness. According to a poll conducted by Healthline, 76 percent of Americans think it's crucial the future POTUS be fit and have good health habits, making this perhaps the one issue people on all sides of the debate can agree on.
Fitness may not be the first characteristic you think of when you consider presidential candidates, but our country has a long history of electing serious sportsmen. Teddy Roosevelt was a celebrated wrestler, hunter, outdoorsman, and adventurer; Ronald Reagan was a firm believer in the power of a daily workout, sticking to a weights-and-calisthenics plan. Bill Clinton was famous for giving the Secret Service fits by taking jogs through random neighborhoods. And our current president, Barack Obama, may top them all with his legendary, non-negotiable six-day-a-week workout regimen. (Of course, he is only one half of the super fit First Couple. Find out how to Get Fit Like the First Family: Q&A with Michelle Obama's Trainer.)
And caring about exercise makes sense—whoever steps into the Oval Office will be under an extreme amount of stress, and we all know regular sweat sessions leave your body and mind ready to field stress better.
So how does our current roster of presidential candidates stack up?
Hillary Clinton hasn't ever been caught in a sweaty tank top by reporters, but that doesn't mean fitness isn't on her radar. The Democratic candidate told Harper's Bazaar that she has a personal trainer who "tortures" her up to three times a week at 6 a.m., and that she enjoys yoga on the weekends. "Not that it shows...but it does energize me," she said. She added that she makes healthy snacking a priority and eats spicy peppers every day. Plus, when participants in the Healthline survey were asked which of the 2016 presidential candidates they would most like to jog with, a quarter of them picked last night's debate winner.
Bernie Sanders isn't known for his workouts (although that didn't stop The Onion from making one up for him) but he did work as a physical labor-intensive carpenter before going into politics and still enjoys woodworking. Even though the 74-year-old isn't big on personal fitness, he still sees individual health care as a key right for all Americans.
Donald Trump swears by playing a few rounds of golf to stay in shape. "Some people might not consider [golf] exercise, but I'll tell you: When I play a few rounds on the weekend, I'll come in Monday morning and I'll have lost 3 or 4 pounds," the Republican told Men's Health. "That's very pleasurable exercise, and it keeps you away from the refrigerator because you're out on the course." He added that physical fitness is very important to him, saying, "You've got to take care of your body and stay healthy. You don't want to be a liability. You don't want to become somebody's patient. Taking care of your body is a great thing."
Carly Fiorina is pretty mum on how she stays slim, but her aids did tell USA Today that when the Republican candidate is on the campaign trail, she hits the elliptical and squeezes in Pilates in her hotel room. (Hey, Carly, if you want to change things up, try our Ultimate Hotel Room Workout.)
Jeb Bush has joked he's courting "the CrossFit vote"—he became a devotee after his son introduced him to the intense workouts. He's also made headlines lately talking about trying to keep to his Paleo diet while on the campaign trail. "Continue to pray that I stick on this Paleo diet where my pants fall down," Bush joked with donors in Tallahassee in February. "Perpetually starving to death apparently is the source of losing weight."