The Top 5 Most Fit United States Presidents

Posted: February 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm, Last Updated: February 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Our leaders represent us, the citizens of the United States. They represent our ideals, our values, and sometimes they represent our care to fitness. Not every leader was in good physical health (see William Harrison or William H. Taft), but there were some who were fitter than others. In honor of President’s Day , here is a list of the Top 5 Fittest Presidents of the United States. This list takes into account facts, myths, legends, and even some biased personal opinions that have no real rhyme or reason for existing.

5. Barack Obama

Starting the list is the man behind the Oval Office desk right now. Just by looking at President Obama one could guess he is in pretty good if not decent shape. Obama works out six days a week, alternating his workouts between upper and lower body weight training, cardio workouts, and playing basketball. Staying healthy and active is something that has been important to the President since he was 22 years old (right around the age of many college students!). It was then that he said no to drugs and alcohol and began focusing more on his physical fitness. He also maintains a well-balanced diet of rich in fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, calcium, proteins, and folic acid. Aside from his occasional caramel chocolates, President Obama stays away from unhealthy foods. When it comes to eating healthy and exercising, Barack Obama certainly leads by example.

George W Bush Fitness
4. George W. Bush

In 2002, George W. Bush told Runner’s World that he ran six days a week and if he didn’t, he used an elliptical trainer, lifted weights, and stretched. Although his intellect is often questioned, there is no question about Bush’s recognition for fitness. He was so cognizant of his health that he even had a treadmill put on Air Force One so he could run in the sky. Bush recognized running was not only good for him physically but mentally as well, for it acted like therapy and helped him de-stress. Running helped Bush focus on his goals and be more disciplined with his work. People are more productive taking time out of their day for exercise than they are burning the midnight oil time and time again.

George Washington Fitness
3. George Washington

Who doesn’t know the famous quote by George Washington, “Working on your biceps? Try chopping down a cherry tree.” No one? I guess it’s true you should not trust everything you read on the internet. Well, George Washington still gets credit for being one of the fittest U.S. Presidents. He must have been fit to chop down a tree. Alright whether that stuff is true or not, there are other reasons why Washington makes the list. Pictures show that Washington was tall, thin, and had a strong athletic frame. He was a leader in war, commanding soldiers and forging a river in the middle of a winter night. An unfit man would struggle to do any of those things. Washington was also known as an excellent and energetic dancer. Dancing is a great form of fitness in which he excelled. Everyone knows he was one of the greatest presidents of all time, and now you know he was one of the fittest presidents of all time, too.

Johny Quincy Adams
2. John Quincy Adams

Perhaps a little less well-known compared to others on this list, one of the fittest presidents of all time was the sixth president, John Quincy Adams. Looks can be deceiving but one must trust what is said about Adams. He has been revered as one of the most intellectual presidents ever, but his body was nearly as active as his mind. Some have gone as far to call him the “Beacon of physical and intellectual fitness.” He was admired during his time for his three to four mile daily walks and his swims in the Potomac River. Although he lived during the 18th and 19th centuries, he managed to live to be 80 years old. That would be an above average length of life even by today’s standards! Clearly President Adams was doing something right in regards to his physical health.

Theodore Roosevelt
1. Theodore Roosevelt

Good ‘ol Teddy! Topping the list as the Fittest U.S. President. The 26th president of the United States was an advocate of a strenuous life and pushing one’s physical limitations. In his autobiography, Roosevelt wrote, “Having been a rather sickly and awkward boy . . . I had to train myself painfully and laboriously not merely as regards to my body but as regards my soul and spirit.” The list of activities for Teddy are large and varied. He wrestled, boxed, hunted, rode on horseback, fenced, rock climbed, hiked, engaged in Jiu Jitsu, and played tennis. Presidents after Roosevelt who liked tennis should thank him for adding them to the White House. All of this comes after growing up with numerous ailments that made him sick as a boy. Mason Recreation loves the can-do attitude of Roosevelt and the resiliency and determination he showed to go from bedridden to being fully active. His variety in activity is also something highly recommended by Mason Recreation. Be like Teddy. Don’t be afraid to try new things and take on the challenge!


If these men can have one of the most stressful jobs on earth and still remain physically fit, then you can, too! Let Mason Recreation help you be as fit as the great man above.

That does it for Mason Recreation’s Top 5 Most Fit Presidents of the United States. Feel free to reach out to us and let us know who you think was the fittest President of the United States. Remember…#fithappens.