Health Fitness Revolution and its founder Samir Becic are on the lookout for the Top 10 Fittest Mayors of 2018. Since 2013, HFR has been creating lists of the fittest politicians in various branches of government in order to motivate Americans to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is running straight into our list of the fittest mayors and there is a reason for that: her achievements are nothing to scoff at, as she has run two half marathons, 48 races in one year and has been physically active for the last 38 years. See how she balances being a mayor in one of the biggest metropolitan cities in America, while also being one of the fittest in this exclusive interview.
Samir Becic: Okay, Mayor, I have a couple of questions for you; first of all I just want to let you know I am very impressed with what you are doing.
Mayor Pugh: Thank you, I ran this morning at 4:30 so I am good.
At 4:30 in the morning?
Mayor Pugh: Yes! If I don’t get it in early in the morning, then it doesn’t get done
How many miles did you run mayor?
This morning I ran 4.1 miles.
That is excellent, bravo!
What I do is I try to run for time and not distance. And this morning I knew I needed to run between 30 and 45 minutes, so I got that in. Some mornings I try to run for an hour or sometimes it’s an hour and a half. I was always thought that if you do the time, you do the distance.
Wow! I definitely agree with that mayor. I see that you ran 48 races in one year.
Yes, I used to race, it was our weekend activity and there was a year that I ran 48 races in one year.
And those races, how long were they?
In that particular year, I did a marathon, two half marathons, and most of them were 10k and 5k.
Nevertheless, that is really amazing, and at that point in time can you tell me how old you were when you were running them?
I started running in my late 20, early 30s.
So from the age of 30, you have been active for the last 38 years.
That is very good, I am impressed. And that is what I am trying to promote in America, a healthy lifestyle.
Yes, when you have a healthy lifestyle, that means you’re eating right and exercising and living a quality lifestyle.
I have a couple of questions for you; George W. Bush stated “Exercise is so important that corporate America should help its employees make time. There should be a flexible time for families and there should be flexible time for exercise. A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. We have got to do a better job of encouraging exercise in America.” What is your stance on that?
Absolutely, and I really think that it begins with our children at an early age. And what’s really great is there are companies and corporations that are providing ways for people to exercise. For example, at Pandora’s headquarters in Baltimore, they provide a gym in the building, and Under Armour and a lot of other companies and corporations are moving in that direction because they do realize that a healthy employee is a more productive employee.
Excellent! I love that answer.
So we have a thing here at city hall we call “Wellness Wednesday,” and fitness is the objective. We do all kinds of exercising right out in front of city hall. We have a park there so it’s nothing to see folks out there doing yoga. We also have jump rope competitions, which I enjoy.
Ok very good, Mayor! John F. Kennedy once said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body. It is the basic dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” What is your stance on this?
Absolutely, and that is why I do it first thing in the morning because it’s very stimulating. I feel like once I get my run in the morning, my mind is clear and I’m ready for the day and it also prepares me.
Do you think that’s one of the reasons why you are actually the mayor of one of the largest American cities and why you’re so successful, because of your healthy lifestyle?
There is no question about it; I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I like to eat healthy foods and I don’t even drink coffee. I eat specific foods and I am not a sweets eater. I do love fruit and I think it really contributes to my ability to do my job in such a way that I’m always getting the right energy from foods and it allows me to operate on a certain level.
Excellent! Corporations are losing billions of dollars in sick days, less productivity, because we have lots of Americans that are getting obese every year. What do you think about that?
Everything is supersized in America and everybody wants the supersize burger and shake and nobody wants a supersize water to drink.
Mayor, what motivates you to be healthy?
I think what motivates me is that I come from a family of people who always exercised and my mother used to make us walk like 12 blocks every Saturday to go to the library. We would walk to the library and stop and read two books, then we would carry two books home.
That is the best combination that a human can have; when you practice physical fitness, mental reinforcement, and cognitive thinking. And that’s one of my major messages to Americans: always workout, eat healthy, but also don’t shy from a book and try to be intellectual, and try to understand the environment around you.
Yes, and when I was growing up, we walked to school, we would arrive at school an hour before school started and we would run around the schoolyard, we would jump rope, play double dutch, play hopscotch and then we would line-up and pledge allegiance to the flag. We would go in the building, stay in building for about three hours, and then we would come back out for recess and exercise some more. When school was out, we would play in the schoolyard before we went home and then we would walk home. America had gotten away from being an active society and we need to get back to being more active and allow our children to become more active.
It is very scary that some of our school systems around the country are completely eliminating physical fitness from their curriculums and that restaurants in schools serve mostly unhealthy foods. And therefore, my philosophical approach is, let’s make America one of the healthiest nations in the world in terms of physical fitness because without healthy children how can we have healthy leaders?
I can tell you it does make a difference. I would tell people that exercise doesn’t require a lot, it is as simple as walking out your door, walking around the neighborhood. And that is why I run because you don’t have to deal with anybody and can focus.
What three at tips you would like to give Americans to be healthier?
First one is to exercise: do something, everybody can do something! Outdoor activities are forms of exercise that can make a difference in how your body looks, how it is shaped, be consistent, and eat healthy. Another thing: create a healthy environment in which you live; like your home, which should be a place of peace and solace and which brings you joy.
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