The Fitness Vote: Is it a Factor in This Year’s Election?

two candidates sweating

Obama on the left, Romney on the right ... Does their fitness routine play a role in how they lead?

I watched the internet explode last weekend as Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan claimed and then retracted that he had run a sub-3:00 marathon. Turns out his actual time was just over four hours and runners were raging about the lie.  Trust me, if you've ever run a marathon, you know to the second how long it took you to cross the finish line. Exaggerating on your time by more than an hour isn't really a whiff; it's basically a flat-out lie. The uproar over Ryan "being found out" got a lot of people thinking. "Do you want a guy who goes for grandiose over the truth?" Let's face it, anyone who runs a marathon is cool in my book. You have to train, you have to endure and be disciplined; you'll have stories to tell. Marathons are NOT for the faint of heart. It is an accomplishment in an of itself regardless of how long you took to cover the course. But Paul Ryan, the P90X guy who leads other Congressmen in early morning workouts (where's his certification by the way?), wanted to seem even better than he actually was. We know Mitt Romney is a three-mile-a-day runner and Obama is happiest with his buds on a basketball court. Should it matter how a candidate's fitness regime might affect their presidency? I already talked about which presidential candidate is the most fit. A three-mile runner like Romney is great on routine, great at checking off lists, great at consistency; all good traits in my opinion. But is there a desire to reach any further, to test his limits, and if not, is that a liability? Romney sticks with what he believes works and doesn't appear to want to try to do anything more. A basketball player like Obama has to think on his feet, adapt in real time. He likes camaraderie and a healthy dose of competition. My understanding is his pick-up games are not easy-going, and the court is filled with people who like to play hard. Does this mean Obama is a team player (maybe too much)? Does it mean he's great at building alliances and using others' strengths to help the team (Go USA!)?  Or does it give him the opportunity to favor cronyism and an invitation to play Obamaball is akin to an invitation to a private dinner party back in the days of the Kennedy White House? Paul Ryan's relative youth has brought up a lot of fitness talk during the campaign. I've never heard more buzz about it in other elections. What's interesting is I do believe you can tell a lot about a person by the workouts they choose, so what does that say for our candidates? We can read all the slogans and watch all the images and commercials of what each candidate wants to be seen as, but is one of the best ways to cut through the pre-packaged version is seeing how they sweat? I'd be interested in what you think about it. Let's have a healthy, respectful discussion of politics and sneakers. Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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2 Responses to The Fitness Vote: Is it a Factor in This Year’s Election?

  1. Phil Earnhardt October 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    I just saw an image of Barack Obama biking with Sasha and Malia:

    I have no commentary about his bicycling skills. However, I think the POTUS should always wear a bicycle helmet! This is the quintessential example of a parent requiring helmets for his children but ignoring his own noggin. Also, Sasha’s helmet is not covering her forehead properly.

  2. Kristen November 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    You make an interesting point. I never considered it before but it makes a lot of sense. They activities they chose say a lot about their character. Running is usually a solo activity. One could argue that Romney is in it for himself. And whether he is or not, he’s suffers from a severe case of foot in mouth disease which would make it appear to be true.

    The President is a good team player but stumbles at times when he is on his own. However he has successfully demonstrated over the last few weeks that he can step up and take charge when needed. In basketball you have to respect your team mates, listen to their feedback and be willing to correct your faults. I see a lot of this in Obama. In Romney I see a man who thinks he is always right and is resistant to change.

    So sure, like anything in life the type of exercise a candidate chooses says a lot of about their character and how they make decisions.

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