Gymrat\’s Weblog

News from the world of muscle

An exercise guru helped ease JFK’s back pain

Recently (June 30) retired Executive Director of IHRSA, John McCarthy, wrote in the IHRSA Industry blog:

“As reported in yesterday’s Boston Globe, the patient files of Austrian-born Dr. Hans Kraus, who met with President Kennedy 85 times in the last two years of his life, show that an exercise regimen – three session per week in the White House Gym – was “enabling Kennedy, for the first time in his life, to see himself as a healthy man.”

Said Dr. Kraus’ biographer, Susan Schwartz, had Kennedy lived another year, the “enduring image of his Presidency would have been of a man hiking, jogging, and lifting weights.”

More from the article:

“Kraus, a legendary rock climber who had successfully pushed President Eisenhower to launch a physical fitness campaign for children, agreed to treat Kennedy and set a plan of three therapy sessions a week in the White House gym.

When Kraus saw Kennedy for the last time, in October 1963, Kennedy agreed to expand his workouts to include jogging and other fitness activities. He also promised to stop wearing the corset. Kraus hoped that Kennedy was about to lead a national fitness crusade, as he had urged, ”to combat the physical and psychological effects of our soft, sedentary, self-indulgent way of life.” has the book “Into the Unknown: The Remarkable Life of Hans Kraus” by Susan E.B. Schwartz:

The Remarkable Life of Hans Kraus“A book of adventure and hope, vividly portraying one man’s successful quest for meaning. A life covering the grand panorama of the 20th century, filled with tragedy and triumph, intense passion, verve, and a whole lot of guts, glory and wit. Hans Kraus was a legendary rock climber, known for hair-raising ascents on two continents. Few realized he was the same man considered one of the great unsung medical pioneers of the 20th century, making headline news throughout the second half of the 1950’s, guest of honor at Eisenhower’s White House, cover story of major magazines throughout America, including Sports Illustrated.

His pioneering work in muscles and fitness uncovered a shocking truth about American children. And his work curing back pain brought him into the Kennedy White House and inner circle of Camelot. Here now is the life of Hans Kraus, including the never before told story of Kennedy’s back, based on new documentation, including Kennedy’s own White House back records and first time interviews with two Kennedy White House doctors. Kraus lived life so fully, so fearlessly, another famous climber said, “His cojones are so big he needs a bag to carry them in.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Hans Kraus (1905-1995) was a pioneer of modern rock climbing, as well as being one of the fathers of sports medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

It was Kraus, based on his landmark research during the 1940s at New York-Presbyterian Hospitalin Manhattan, who first made the connection between exercise and health. Along with Bonnie Prudden, he campaigned for better physical exercise programs for children, and authored several books on exercise, sports medicine, and physical therapy.”


July 28, 2006 - Posted by | Books, Exercise, Fitness, Sports Medicine

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