So today is the day when Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. He also enters the White House with the distinction of being the fittest President the States has ever known. The accolades could continue; healthiest leader among the G8 (group of nations); I could go on.
Obama discovered the ‘exercise effect’ at the age of 22, when he decided to stop dabbling with drugs and alcohol. His focused turned to running and it has remained an embedded part of his life for the past 25 years.
“The main reason I do it is to clear my head and relieve me of stress,” Obama told Men’s Health. “My blood pressure is pretty low and I tend to be a healthy eater. Most of my workouts have to come before my day starts. There’s always a trade-off between sleep and working out. Usually I get in about 45 minutes, six days a week. I’ll lift [weights] one day, do cardio the next. I wish I was getting a 90-minute workout.”
Obama’s commitment to exercise is causing quite a debate. It polarises opinion. Some ask: ‘It’s amazing how the President of the United States makes time to exercise six days per week? Others: Shouldn’t the President be focusing fully on the job? Obama’s response is: “It gives you more mental endurance and more energy to think clearly,” he said. “For a president, that’s not a bad thing.”
It will be interesting to see how Obama continues this exercise regime when he moves into the White House. However, it is clear that this 47-year old, six-pack President is already re-defining what ‘middle age’ means for men who balance the needs of home, health and a career.
Obama’s fitness achievements may act to inspire more middle-age individuals in England to become more active. The last Active People survey showed that just over 21% of 45-54 year olds exercised at least three-times weekly for at least 30 minutes. That figure includes both men and women. It has risen since the previous Active People survey, but only just. So, the majority are still finding reasons not to take up sport and exercise and the reason cited normally involves a lack of time.
So here’s a question: If the President of the United States can make time for exercise, shouldn’t we?