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The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Entries in Hooverball (1)


5 Presidents Who Made the White House Their Health Club

Belief in carving out time for physical activity transcends presidential terms and political parties. Here is a list of five former presidents who made the White House into their very own health club.

Ronald Reagan converted an unused White House bedroom to a gym for daily strength training and cardio. His exercise routines headlined Parade Magazine in the article How To Stay Fit: The President’s Personal Exercise Program (December 1983). After describing his favorite types of indoor and outdoor exercises, Reagan writes, “I would urge each of you reading this article to think about how you could get a little more physical activity into your life.”

In addition, Reagan was rumored to have been seen exercising on a few occasions. He reportedly said, “If you see somebody jumping up and down on the second floor of the White House, that's me rebounding.”

Reagan earns the number one spot in our list for these reasons.

Gerald Ford exercised daily in the swimming pool he constructed for the White House in 1975. Before politics, the athletic Ford considered playing professional football for the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, who were both impressed by his performance at the University of Michigan. It's safe to say that future presidents also made good use of the pool; George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan have all reported that they also enjoy swimming. Ford earns the number two spot in our lineup.

Teddy Roosevelt had a tennis court built on White House grounds in 1902 and used it frequently. To round out his fitness regimen, President Roosevelt enjoyed jogging around the Washington Monument and practicing his boxing skills. He earns number three.

Herbert Hoover played Hoover-balla hybrid game of tennis and volleyball that uses a medicine ball and an eight-foot net. The game was created by White House physician, Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone. Hoover completed this workout six times per week. Hoover earns number four, with extra points for including others in the group fitness routine.

Calvin Coolidge championed the “Iron Horse”an electrical machine designed to mimick horseback riding. The Iron Horse, which Coolidge rode in the comfort of the White House, came with multiple settings used to adjust speed. Coolidge rounds out IHRSA’s list at number five, but most importantly, we are also crowning him with the honor of “most unique exercise machine installed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”

Note: This article originally appeared in the 10.15 issue of The IHRSA Advocate newsletter. To receive original content like this every other week, subscribe at