Reasons Physical Well-Being Matters for Actors
It’s no secret that actors are among the most physically demanding of all professions. We work long hours, often in extreme weather conditions or under extreme emotional stress, and our bodies take a lot of abuse. Over time, this can accumulate injuries—some severe enough to threaten one’s livelihood as an actor. So, it stands to reason that physical well-being should be an essential component in every actor’s life. As someone who has been through the acting process myself, I want to share some stories about how my fitness regimen helped me succeed on stage and screen.
Physical well-being is important for actors because it affects their ability to perform on stage and offstage life activities such as exercising or going on long walks with friends and family members. Physical fitness also impacts how much energy they have throughout the day, affecting their work performance in rehearsals or performances.
Actors are often told to “just be a good actor” in the theatre world and not focus on anything else. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to being an actor than just acting. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the other elements that play into physical well-being for actors.
Why shouldn’t the physical well-being of actors be ignored?
Physical well-being for actors is an often-overlooked necessity in pursuing the craft. It’s not glamorous, it’s difficult to quantify, and there are probably more vocal proponents for psychological wellness. But physical well-being is integral to the performance. Yes, your character may be sitting at a desk all day, but I bet he takes his coffee with two creams and five sugars (the effects of which are negligible compared to lack of sleep or exercise). Being physically comfortable helps you achieve that relaxed state necessary for actual presence, especially when overwhelmed or under stress. Anytime you’re asked to do something big on stage, you’ll need less adrenaline if your body feels strong and healthy, even if only slightly so. And when you’re in a fight, and the stakes are high, your chances of injuring yourself in training go up exponentially if you don’t know what you’re doing or your body is compromised. Everyone wants to be healthy — why not be healthy for your job?
Tips for maintaining health as an actor
It’s an actor’s responsibility to be in shape and take care of their bodies, but it’s also important that they feel comfortable spending time on physical maintenance. Unfortunately, I see so many actors neglect this part of themselves because they can’t afford multiple sessions with a personal trainer when they want to hang out with friends at night or because of a pervasive myth that wellness is only necessary for older people (a memo: bullshit). Sometimes they find a certain or fitness regimen and get excited to start, but then fall off the wagon when they realize that it’s hard to maintain and do not see results. Suddenly it becomes another thing they’re not good at, and we all know how actors feel about things they’re bad at. This is where a personal trainer can be incredibly helpful in that they can keep you on track, give you feedback, and motivate you so that you don’t give up before you’ve even started.
I’m not saying that physical well-being is easy or that everyone needs a personal trainer (although if you can afford one, it’s worth it). However, you can do plenty of simple things every day to improve your physical state.