Wellness might seem like our society’s ongoing craze, but there are reasons for it. We learn from our past. Historically, we’ve struggled with wellness. When people find something that alleviates their illness they want to share what they know. Because of the platforms that exist now it can feel overwhelming but that doesn’t make it any less important or interesting. If Teddy Roosevelt’s dad had social media back in his day, he would’ve been all over it spreading the message of Teddy turned strong. He witnessed illness firsthand, in his son, and was able to turn his health around through physical fitness.
“Theodore you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. I am giving you the tools, but it is up to you to make your body.”
-Theodore Roosevelt Sr.
Way back when our 25th President was a child, the 1860’s, good health wasn’t well researched nor was it a priority for most. Being strong and fit was for athletes. Teddy Roosevelt’s dad, Theodore Sr. was the exception, though. Teddy suffered from extreme asthma attacks as a young child. His dad would do everything he could to try to get air into his lungs, but often the relief would come after awful bouts of gasping for air. Teddy was sickly and even when he grew out of his asthma, he continued to be sickly. His dad realized that he had a son that was quite intelligent but his body didn’t match his brain. He told his son that he needed to make his body as strong as his mind and Teddy did not hesitate to act on this. It was such wise advice for the time. Actually, it’s advice that many could use now.
“I will make my body!”
– Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy and his dad built a gymnasium for lifting weights and boxing in their yard, so Teddy could develop his strength. He began to work his body just as much as he worked his brain. Not only did he get stronger, but physical fitness became a part of his lifestyle. It was something that he couldn’t and didn’t want to live without. The very fact that he was able to turn his health completely around proved to him that it was necessary to lead a “strenuous life”.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
He found hiking and boxing to be his favorites and he continued to do both throughout his life. When he was Governor, he wrestled a middleweight champion every week. As President he would have meetings while riding horses and he’d chop down trees to relax. His love of the great outdoors took him to horse riding and exploring into the Wild West. This passion made Teddy create National Parks in his Presidency. He strongly believed in conservation and protecting wildlife. By the end of his Presidency he had 230 million acres of public land protected.
You Must Go Point to Point
Teddy had a rule when hiking, you have to go “Point to Point.” There was no going around any obstacle; you had to go up, down, over, or through. On his first visit with the President, the French Ambassador was so excited to go on a stroll with him. However, it turned out to be quite the opposite of what he imagined. He found himself in the woods climbing over things and walking through a stream. He did every part of the walk and when instructed to “strip as to not wet our things”, to cross a stream, he said “I too for the honor of France.”
All of us could take some pointers from Teddy. Health, without a doubt, unleashed his greatness. He went from a sickly kid to an example of strength, stamina, and resilience. If nutrition came into the equation, he would’ve been an even greater specimen of health. President Theodore Roosevelt took care of his body which allowed him to take care of our country and its resources.
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”
– President Theodore Roosevelt