Running for the the country’s highest elected office comes with the same intrusion movie stars have to handle. Every time these politicians step out the door, they can expect a constant click of cameras. People want to know where they are, where they’re going, and what they’re wearing. Even the foods they eat and the fitness plans they follow are under scrutiny. While such curiosities can be intrusive, physical fitness is hugely important for anyone who wants to be president.
Past candidates have suffered skepticism for their age, some arguing an individual older than 70 won’t be sharp enough to get the job done. Though cognitive processing does tend to slow down as we grow older, The Wall Street Journal pointed out highly educated people who focus their efforts on a singular field may actually be able to perform better as they age. What’s more, older individuals tend to maintain better control over their emotions.
So perhaps the issue isn’t so much age as it is health. There’s no denying the stress associated with running the country, and it can take a toll on you. Dr. Michael Roizen, an anesthesiologist and chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, told CNN his research indicated a president effectively ages two years for every one they are in office, so robust health is a necessity. It doesn’t do any good to elect a new commander in chief if he or she winds up in a hospital bed with an ailing heart.
All this means candidates need to be relatively fit before they even come close to setting foot in the oval office, and many of them take their personal health very seriously. These politicians are even busier than the rest of us, so keeping active and eating well can be a real challenge. We’re sharing the tips six of the presidential hopefuls live by to keep themselves fit and ready to serve.
1. Jeb Bush
Know as a dedicated runner and mountain biker, George W. Bush was undoubtedly one of the most physically fit presidents to ever serve. He even logged a marathon in less than four hours. This means younger brother Jeb has a lot to live up to in the fitness department.
Though he’s struggled with his weight in the past, the younger Bush debuted a slimmer physique earlier this year thanks to adopting a paleo diet. Bush’s associates told Reuters the presidential hopeful has been forgoing indulgent meals, opting instead for grilled chicken and snacking on nuts. That’s not to say he doesn’t allow for the occasional indulgence, though. The same story reported he will enjoy a glass of wine or piece of pie every now and then. In addition to sticking to a healthier diet, Bush does his best to stay active as well. According to People.com, he tries to swim laps daily and get to the gym when he can.
2. Hillary Clinton
Though worries over her rising age as well as her physical well-being after suffering a concussion in 2012 have plagued Hillary Clinton during her campaign, her doctor recently released a letter saying she’s perfectly healthy. According to the document, Clinton “eats a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, and fruits.” The letter also mentioned her exercise habits, which include yoga and swimming.
Touring the country can make it difficult to adhere to a healthy diet, but one of Clinton’s aides told People.com the politician usually resists temptation, only occasionally indulging in treats. According to the story, one of her best tricks for sticking to a nutritious diet is using spice to bump up the flavor.
3. Rand Paul
Though he’s a lot less vocal about his specific diet and exercise habits than some other candidates, Rand Paul maintains a pretty active lifestyle. He tweeted a photo during a run earlier this year, indicating he’s no stranger to fitness. He was also an athlete while in school, competing as a swimmer. According to The New York Times, the pool habit stuck, and he frequently swims at home.
Instead of stressing over dining restrictions while traveling, Paul adheres to a pretty simple philosophy. He told AP, “If you have to eat fast food on the trail, skip the fries. If you have time for a sit-down dinner, eat only half the meal.” Sticking to these rules is pretty manageable for everyone, and they could make a big difference in the long run.
4. Martin O’Malley
Where many candidates get flack for not being fit enough, Martin O’Malley is at the other end of the spectrum. His svelte physique has had people talking ever since participating in the 2011 Polar Bear Plunge. How does he do it? Some of his aides told USA Today he stays in shape by switching up his routines often, which include lifting weights and cardio training. According to the story, he particularly likes planks. O’Malley also tries to stay away from fast food when he’s traveling. He told AP he tries to stick with vegetables.
5. Donald Trump
Even Donald Trump makes time in his schedule to focus on his health. In 2013, Trump spoke to Men’s Health about the importance of staying active. He told the publication he likes to take long walks and also hits the golf course as often as he can. Though golfing won’t deliver the same slimming results as running, there’s still plenty of walking involved. Trump made another interesting point about the pastime. “It keeps you away from the refrigerator because you’re out on the course,” he said in the interview. When it comes to food, Trump tries to keep his health in mind. According to Natural News, daughter Ivanka often cooks fresh, organic meals for most of the family.
6. Bobby Jindal
Most people wouldn’t dream of starting their mornings any other way than with a mug of coffee. Bobby Jindal, on the other hand, prefers to head the gym as soon as he can. He told MSNBC he likes the stationary bike because it’s easier on his knees and allows him to catch up on reading. He’s also a fan of incorporating some weight lifting. “When I work out I have more energy for the rest of the day,” he said in the article.
Diet is a completely different story with this self-proclaimed gym rat. Jindal told The Huffington Post’s TheSkimm he loves to eat nachos and cookies. Though his food choices could do with a little improvement, his approach to starting the day with a sweat session is pretty admirable.