In today’s world, the quality of work being put out into the creative space is as high as has ever been. Now with the cost of entry being low and the quality of technology being constantly updated, making a name for yourself is getting harder and harder daily. We are always looking for that “edge” as professionals that set us apart from the crowd or that little extra boost of energy needed to finish that late-night editing session. Lucky for us the answer isn't more caffeine (though it never hurts) or something we have to go out and buy. It's as simple as dedicating a few minutes a day to personal fitness.
It wakes up our body and mind in a way that can’t be replicated artificially. In a world where everything is put on a platter for us, we fail to understand that our bodies are meant for so much more than sitting behind a desk all day or in front of a TV binge watching our favorite Netflix series. We are meant to be out physically stressing ourselves daily. Introducing this into our lives can bring lifelong benefits and ensure that we have a leg up on the competition.
Now in terms of actual physical fitness there is way more to it than just looking good in the mirror, it’s about being functional. While I understand that not everyone is interested in scaling mountains to get photos, even as a professional working in a studio you can reap the benefits. On any given day in as a photographer we can be transporting heavy kits of gear to multiple locations, moving lighting equipment around our studios, or just carrying a camera around a city all day waiting to capture that perfect moment. We can all benefit from things like improved metabolism, higher bone density, and higher amounts of daily energy. When we are in good shape things like a hard day at work or an all-day photo shoot, we can function at a higher level for a longer duration than someone who doesn’t take care of themselves. This should be a huge reason to consider taking fitness seriously in itself because what is worse than being at a point where you just can’t physically function at a professional level during a shoot? Along with that we learn a lot about our bodies along the way like how to pace yourself through long sessions or how to prepare for a strenuous day of work.
In a recent interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson, TV host and the face of Old Spice Terry Crews explained in detail about how when he’s running and pushes through the “runner’s wall” that’s when his great creative ideas for TV shows and comedy skits come alive. While we aren't writing dialogs, we do find ourselves in situations where we need to make split second decisions that can make or break productions. Now it affects everyone differently, but most can say from experience that after an intense workout we have a mental clarity that we haven’t been able to find otherwise which goes a long way in this industry. Studies from Harvard have shown that regular exercise improves verbal memory and learning along with reducing stress and anxiety. Even if you didn’t need to be creative having this clarity when juggling the many different jobs that we have as photographers can be vital to your business' success. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a flood of anxiety and stress weighing on you as you’re pushing forward towards a close project deadline.
Along with physically feeling better and being mentally clear there is the overall well-being aspect. These are just a few of the many side effects of fitness: better sleep quality, better dexterity, better immune system, better hormone production, more confidence, and the list goes on and on. Combine these all together from a singular act and you have one of the most beneficial things you could do for yourself. We all want to have long fruitful careers and this job isn’t easy. We must invest time in the most important piece of gear we have (no it's not your camera or that nice collection of glass you have) and that's ourselves. Being in control of your well-being will leave you able to focus on the important things in your day to day without worry of how you’ll perform.
When it’s all said, and done, fitness in general is something that is meant for all of us. Some of us aren’t going to be lifting ungodly amounts of weight, some us aren’t going to be running ultra-marathons, but all of us are built to be physically active. When you factor in what all fitness can do for you, you owe it to yourself to at least try it. The longevity of our artistic careers all depend on being able to stay at our peak level for as long as possible and given that you devote the proper time to your fitness and health. I will guarantee that it will pay dividends to your creative productivity and provide a quality of life you wouldn't have known otherwise.