Herbert Hoover: Not an Exercise Fanatic

healthy despite work
Is reported to have not missed a day of work during his presidency as a result of illness 1a. This was despite a gruelling work schedule and an aversion to exercise SEE BELOW. Hoover worked "at all hours" and did not take a single vacation, not counting Rapidan Camp near Washington where he would go for a weekend with a few old trusted friends 2a. "He seemed tense and utterly pre-occupied with the nation's ills" (the Great Depression) 2b.
Odds & Ends
Hoover's only recreation during his presidency was a pre-breakfast session with a medicine ball 2c, six days a week, regardless of season or weather. He missed only one session during his term in office 1a. SEE BELOW
According to the memoirs of Ira Smith 3a, Hoover
worked at a terrific pace as [economic] conditions became more critical. He was at his desk at all hours and got very little relaxation or exercise. He didn't like exercise anyway, and when he was persuaded to toss a medicine ball around in the back yard he did it in a halfhearted fashion. If the ball came his way he would catch it and throw it to somebody, but he didn't make any effort to attract a toss.
Cited Sources
  1. Bumgarner, John R. The Health of the Presidents: The 41 United States Presidents Through 1993 from a Physician's Point of View. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Company, 1994.
    a  p.202

    Comment: Devotes one chapter to each President, through Clinton. Written for the layperson, well-referenced, with areas of speculation clearly identified, Dr. Zebra depends heavily on this book. Dr. Bumgarner survived the Bataan Death March and has written an unforgettable book casting a physician's eye on that experience.

  2. Parks, Lillian Rogers. My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House. New York: Fleet Publishing, 1961.
    a  pp.216, 219  b  pp.219-220  c  p.226

    Comment: This book stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 26 weeks, prompting Jacqueline Kennedy to require all staff at the White House to sign a pledge agreeing not to write about their experiences (NY Times, page B8, Nov. 12, 1997). Parks's mother, a maid at the White House from 1909-1939, had actually been encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt to write and publish a memoir (p260).

  3. Smith, Ira R. T.; Morris, Joe Alex. "Dear Mr. President:" The Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. New York: Julian Messner, 1949.
    a  p.141

    Comment: Ira Smith was a peppery fellow who ran the White House mail room from 1897 to 1948. He started working during the administration of William McKinley and was the only mail room staffer until the volume of mail made it necessary to hire help during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.

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