Why Fitness Inspires Creativity

Why Fitness Inspires Creativity

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.

Physical Capacity

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.

Mental Capacity

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. 

Overall Well-Being

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.

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Chip Kalback's picture

"It wakes up our body and mind in a way that can’t be replicated artificially." -- So true! I've found this especially true when I'm biking. The creative buzzing after a long ride is hard to find elsewhere.

Not to hijack the comments section but I wrote a bit about this a while back in a blog post: http://www.chipkalback.com/blog/five-photography-essentials

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

I can't agree enough with cycling and coffee as great for your photography! Coffee is an important tool in my creative process!

Andrew Richardson's picture

100%. When you eat right and exercise regularly the impact on your entire life is so huge. Good sleep, good food, and good habits will elevate your entire existence.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

It almost makes me upset that it took me 18 years of life to learn that simple fact. Once I changed I never looked back!

aaronbratkovics's picture

It depends on how you look at it. Fitness can also stress you out. I'm an amateur competitor in this sport of fitness. My local area holds a ton of competitions. It's difficult to try and stay on top. You wake up and fall asleep thinking about training. You eat to perform and worry when you're doing too much or not doing enough. It can be mentally and emotionally draining.

Do I have a choice? Kind of...but when you see yourself at a certain point in fitness and begin to maybe relax a little you almost feel like you're not hitting your full potential anymore. What a mind fuck really.

I agree with your article. Sure makes holding this 1D easier. I'm pretty sure I can hold 1/20th better these days because of fitness.

Chris Ramsey Jr.'s picture

I think with anything in life if you cross the line of moderation you're going to have diminishing returns on your investment. I'm highly obsessive about keeping up a high workload professionally and in the gym. At times it's stressful but in the end it's where I want to be so it's worth it.

It's all about what your goals are and how far you're willing to go for them.

aaronbratkovics's picture

I agree.

Dave Re's picture

It's also about your goals, you know? For instance, I'll never be a world class fitness competitor for a number of reasons, but it's also never been a goal for me. If you've set a goal to be competitive in a sport, you've also made a choice to do what it takes to be competitive (including the training regimen, disciplined food, etc). If your goal is to just be a fitter human being for increased quality of life, maybe being hardcore obsessive about it represents a different problem (between your ears... which I have, too... ha ha).

Chris, I agree across the board. Aaron, I also agree. Ha ha.

Tony Clark's picture

Great article, I find that getting fit is a welcome diversion from work. It doesn't just make you feel better, it gives you confidence and helps me concentrate for longer periods of time.