Roosevelt intensely disliked being called "Teddy", and was quick to point out this fact to those who referred to him as such, though it would become widely used by newspapers during his political career. He attended church regularly. In 1907, concerning the motto "In God We Trust" on money, he wrote, "It seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements." He was also a member of the Freemasons and Sons of the American Revolution.
Roosevelt had a lifelong interest in pursuing what he called, in an 1899 speech, "The Strenuous Life". To this end, he exercised regularly and took up boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo, and horseback riding. As governor of New York, he boxed with sparring partners several times each week, a practice he regularly continued as President until being hit so hard in the face he became blind in his left eye (a fact not made public until many years later). Thereafter, he practiced judo, attaining a third degree brown belt; he also continued his habit of skinny-dipping in the Potomac River during the winter.
Roosevelt was an enthusiastic singlestick player and, according to Harper's Weekly, showed up at a White House reception with his arm bandaged after a bout with General Leonard Wood in 1905. Roosevelt was an avid reader, reading tens of thousands of books, at a rate of several per day in multiple languages. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt was the most well-read of all American politicians.