Theodore Roosevelt Fought Through His Asthma With Immense Athleticism

(Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in military uniform, c. 1898, photographed by George Gardner Rockwood [Public Domain-US] via Creative Commons)


Theodore Roosevelt may easily be ranked as one of the most athletic presidents of the United States. Among his many physical activities, he hunted, ranched and soldiered in the army as a ‘Rough Rider.’ He also boxed, learned gymnastics and lifted weights.

Despite his impressive athletic resume, Theodore Roosevelt was sickly as a child, and was plagued by asthma. The ailment, however, did not dampen Theodore’s athleticism—quite the opposite, the asthma inspired him to pursue an athletic lifestyle. All of the strength and cardio training allowed Roosevelt to improve his body’s constitution and largely nullify the effects of his asthma.


  • The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Ken Burns (PBS Documentary), available on Netflix.

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