Health Lessons Learned from Past Presidents

Posted by Meghan Orner on February 15, 2016

Health Lessons Learned from Past Presidents

Happy Presidents’ Day! Since its establishment in 1885, Presidents’ Day has given us the opportunity to reflect on our former presidents’ wisdom and the change they have brought about in this great country. But that’s certainly not the only thing we can learn from them!

Amid all the attention that comes along with sitting in the oval office, it can be easy to forget that presidents can experience the same health problems as the rest of us. But the way they handled them should motivate all of us to live our healthiest life possible – today!

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Below are some health lessons learned from past presidents:

  • Falls can happen to anyone. Just last summer in 2015, President George H.W. Bush experienced a fall, showing that everyone – including former presidents – can fall in their home. As a result of his fall, he broke a bone in his neck and was hospitalized for four days to treat his injury. At 91 years old, George is currently the oldest-living president, and his young-at-heart attitude helped him make a full recovery like a champ!
  • De-stress daily. It’s not hard to imagine why the presidency is often referred to as the most stressful job in the world, and this is proven by the amount of presidents who have suffered from stress-related illnesses. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower all experienced various (and sometimes multiple) heart health problems including high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks both during and after their presidency.  
  • Do what you love. We know that Jimmy Carter has been in the news a lot recently after he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 90. Fortunately, he has responded well to his treatment – partly because he has always been so active. After serving as the 39th president, Jimmy never let his age slow him down. He was an avid runner until the age of 80 when he received two knee replacements, and even after that he would regularly swim. Between painting, woodworking and just being active around the home, he kept doing exactly what he loved doing, which has helped him courageously battle cancer.
  •  Fitness and a healthy diet can go a long way! President Bill Clinton’s struggle with heart disease has been in the public eye since he underwent heart surgery back in 2010, but now his efforts seem to be paying off. At 69, Bill has lost more than 30 pounds as a result of a vegan diet and walking four times a week – a great reminder that you are never too old to turn your life around and begin living a healthy lifestyle.  
  • Pinpoint your potential health risks. Despite the fact that he has lived a healthy lifestyle, 69-year-old George W. Bush has undergone various heart and knee surgeries, proving that we are all affected by genetics and age. It’s a sad reality that genetics can sometimes affect our health, but there is some good news: your doctor can help you determine any potential health risks based on your family history. 
  • These health lessons learned from past presidents are all great reminders, but presidents aren’t the only ones we can learn from! Many senior celebrities, including our current First Lady Michelle Obama, are making a positive impact by promoting the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

    We may not run a country, but we are in control of our own lives, so be sure to keep these health lessons in mind while celebrating the lives of all U.S. presidents. 


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