President Cyril Ramaphosa walking from the Gugulethu Sports Centre to Athlone Stadium on Tuesday.


  • Capetonians spotted President Cyril Ramaphosa walking before sunrise.

  • Early morning exercise is also associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.  

  • Ramaphosa joins several global CEOs in waking up early, including Disney CEO Bob Iger, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Apple CEO Tim Cook.


Hundreds of Capetonians have seen President Cyril Ramaphosa on his morning walks well before sunrise, and have stopped to take selfies with the 65-year-old.

Ramaphosa’s walks aren’t just a good publicity stunt, they’re healthy too, says Discovery Vitality's in-house biokineticist Mari Leach.

They could help keep him sane too.


It's proven that 45 minutes of vigorous exercise pushes up energy consumption for up to 14 hours after the exercise itself, says Leach.

"This means you will burn more calories throughout your day," she told Business Insider South Africa.

Ramaphosa told fellow morning strollers in Gugulethu his morning exercise gives him time to reflect on government issues such as cabinet reshuffles. That could be a good idea, because exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, says Leach, and mornings are good for thinking anyway.

"[This] increases the functionality of neurotransmitters involved in the cognitive or 'thinking' process of the brain.”

“Your central nervous system will be more alert and your neurotransmitters restored after a good night's sleep."

"It's also been proven that exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. People who exercise on a regular basis have lower depression and anxiety levels than their less active counterparts."

Ramaphosa joins many of the world's top CEO's in waking up before 5 a.m., including Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

DJ Fresh told Business Insider South Africa also prefers to start the day with exercise. 

"There isn't all that noise of cars chasing by and all the other distractions. I found if I get things like gym out of the way - I have the rest of the day to play with," he says. 

Executive coach Stephen Beukes, who wakes up 4 am every day himself, says most CEOs believe they are most productive in the mornings. 

"Most CEOs tell me that they are most productive at that time," says Beukes, who counts WWF-SA, Woolworths, and NCC Environmental Services among his clients.

"While the rest of the world is asleep, it gives you precious hours to catch up on emails and complete personal admin," Beukes says, who counts WWF-SA, Woolworths, and NCC Environmental Services among his clients.

Beukes, however, advises that waking up early is only recommended when you go to bed early.

"If you are sacrificing an hour sleep from a six-hour cycle - rather take a few more Z's in bed," Beukes says.