Why You Should Stay In Shape As An Actor

An inspiration, you might have heard about says: A healthy lifestyle is the key to success.

Some of us are more active about  eating healthy and doing sports, and some are more laid-back about it. That’s OK.  And I am not in the position to judge either of these positions.

But as an actor, your body is your tool. It’s  what a Casting Director sees first when you’re auditioning, and the first thing an audience sees on the screen when you portray a character.

So you might be slightly interested that your body is good to go.

To get and stay in shape you basically need two things: The right nutrition and an active lifestyle. In general nutrition is about 80% of what makes us healthy. If you are interested to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of nutrition, read this.

Regular exercises are only about 20% of your health. For you that might not sound really high. But staying active doesn’t just have a physical effect, there is also an important psychological effect you shouldn’t underestimate.

If you challenge yourself regular, if you set goals for yourself and reach them, if you finish a one hour workout – the feeling of victory over your own laziness is tremendous! You tested your physical boundaries and that makes you happier, more balanced and satisfied.

It also helps to be focused on other things. Doing exercises on a regular basis helps you be more efficient in other things. 

For example, in character work and in learning your lines. As an actor you have to be mentally strong. You might go to multiple auditions and not get a role, and when you finally get a job, diving into a character can be emotionally exhausting. As is being in front of a camera. 

Being active can be a really good outlet to deal with your stress and grow your confidence.

So let’s talk about a few efficient ways you can include more physical movement in your daily life.

If you are a morning person you can start right after waking up. Add some exercises to your morning routine between brushing your teeth and having a shower. Just add two sets of push-ups, sit-ups or planks. You also can do that kind of workout right before you go to sleep. (It’s all about finding a good routine to do exercises regularly.)

All these exercises include your bodyweight, which also helps maintain stability. 

Especially for actors, planks are really good to help improve your posture. It strengthens your back, chest, shoulders, neck and abs.It doesn’t have to take a long time, 5 minutes every day. So if you do 3 sets (each 60 sec.) of planks (two arms) and one of each arm (also 60 sec) every morning, you are pretty good. If you are not able to do 60 seconds right away, start with shorter sets and work your way up.

Beside that you should also do exercises that include cardio. It’s good for your respiratory system, your locomotor system, and also helps your posture. Some  examples of cardio include: running, swimming, riding a bike, walking, skating or hiking. 

It’s recommended to do 150 minutes with a low intensity level or 75 minutes with a high intensity level a week. You should try to stretch your workout to as many days as possible. For efficiency, but it’s also easier to include cardio in our daily routine.

The main reason why you move shouldn’t be the focus on your body shape (even if that’s also important for an actor), but to  increase your quality of life, your mental stability, and build more confidence.

And it will help to increase your work quality as an actor as well. Character work will be easier and on set you’ll be able to bring your A-Game for long hours. 

So get on your feet for a happier life. And most important: be creative and have fun with it!

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