Surprising Daily Habits of U.S. Presidents

  • Ronald Reagan with jelly beans
Ronald Reagan with jelly beans
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Being President of the United States leaves little time for anything outside the demands of the office. Nearly every minute of the commander in chief’s day is spent serving the country, be it attending cabinet meetings and press briefings or meeting with foreign leaders. But even with this jam-packed schedule, the 45 people who have served as POTUS found time for their own hobbies and interests. For some Presidents, that meant regular fishing trips or nightly dinners with the first family; for others, it meant something more unusual. Here are some surprising daily habits of former U.S. Presidents.

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John Quincy Adams Skinny-Dipped in the Potomac

While serving as James Monroe’s secretary of state prior to his own presidency, John Quincy Adams frequently bathed nude in Tiber Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River that once flowed just south of the White House. In a July 1818 diary entry, Adams wrote that he would wake every morning between 4 and 5 a.m., walk 2 miles over to the creek, and enjoy a swim, sans clothing. Adams continued skinny-dipping in the Potomac during his presidency, swimming between 20 minutes and an hour each day. He did, however, eventually cut back per the advice of his physician, who spent years warning Adams about overexerting himself. But in 1846, 17 years after leaving office, a 78-year-old Adams returned to the Potomac for a final skinny-dip before his death less than two years later.

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