Sunday, October 12, 2008

Presidents Practice Principle of Rest and Exercise

A CNN article reports that Presidents work best when they take regular respites from the burdens of the presidency, according to Duberstein and other White House insiders from the Nixon presidency through the current administration.

"The time off at the ranch or at Camp David was more than an escape," Duberstein says. "It was good for his physical and mental well-being."

"The daily routine of a president is really grueling," says Ron Nessen, press secretary to President Gerald Ford. "It's hard to get thinking time. Ford talked about how when he was swimming laps, it gave him time to think about things."

No wonder then, that the most recent presidents have turned to sports as a diversion from what's been called the toughest job in the world.

Presidents have enjoyed mountain biking (George W. Bush), golf (Bill Clinton, Ford, Dwight D. Eisenhower), tennis (Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush), jogging (Clinton, Carter and both Bushes), swimming (Ford), bowling (Richard Nixon), horseshoes (George H.W. Bush) and horseback riding (Reagan).

"Exercise was a huge part of his life," says Jody Powell, Carter's press secretary. "He enjoyed tennis very much. He ran just about every day."

To blow off steam, Clinton would go to the putting green outside the White House.
"Everyone knew to leave him alone," says Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart. "It had to be a national security crisis to go out and interrupt him."

Even presidents who were not particularly athletic made a point of taking a break.

President Nixon had an office with a comfortable sofa in the Old Executive Office Building (now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building), next door to the White House, says John Dean, former White House counsel.

When Ford came down with the flu, he was forced to take four days in the residence. "His workload was cut way back so he had more time to think, and he came back and decided to make some major, major changes to his staff," Nessen says.

An avid runner, mountain biker and fisherman, "President Bush is good at finding ways to separate [from the job]," says Ari Fleischer, his former press secretary. "But even so, you never have an uninterrupted day as president. Every day, you have a National Security Council meeting. Every day you get interrupted by an intelligence briefing."

To read the full article, follow this link:

David S Martin, Even Presidents Need Time to Chill out, CNN.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Pick out the US Presidents.