We applaud athletes-turned-politicians -- but we should also take note of politicians who are athletic. They maintain their physical prowess, despite years in demanding high office.
Tim Cook is known for hitting the gym daily by 5 am, but the Apple CEO is also known for being reclusive compared to his legendary predecessor. Certain CEOs of Cook’s caliber may have the power to run a company out of the public eye.
Politicians don’t have this luxury. Neither do entrepreneurs.
As the founder and champion of a new brand, entrepreneurs are tasked with attending investor meetings, cultivating a company following, and motivating startup employees.
Elected officials are also the face of their administration; they are their brand. Face-time with the press and the public are mandatory.
Routine exercise is vital for professions where one must assume a public persona. Besides its ability to improve strength and reduce chances of disease, it improves mental health and mood, according to the National Institutes of Health. Regular physical activity also boosts the power to deliver the best first impression. It ensures the proper flow of the lymphatic system, which gives the skin – the largest and most visible organ of the human body – its healthy glow. So exercise is a winning recipe for charisma.
A lifetime of sport has helped roughly two-dozen former athletes to local, state or national office in the U.S. An easy example would be former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the 38th governor of California.
Then there are a handful of international athletes who hold political office. Vitali Klitschko entered Ukrainian politics in 2005 while maintaining his professional boxing career until his retirement from the ring in 2013. Manny Pacquiao, a world champion boxer in a record eight different weight classes, was elected to Filipino Congress in 2010 and 2013 while preparing for big bouts at the MGM Grand and Macau.
But we rarely take note of the politicians who juggle civil service and athletics. Even after years as a public servant, many find time to play the courts, run the tracks, or fight in the ring. These elected officials prove that when it comes to fitting in a workout, even the busiest professionals have no excuses.