5 Tips for Actors to Stay Healthy

Sick manBeing an actor can take a toll on your well-being.

In some roles your body suffers because the character is very physical. Other roles can be emotionally demanding leaving you physically drained. Then of course there are roles that aren’t only physically and emotionally demanding, but also mentally or even spiritually exhausting!

Actors don’t always know where their next check is coming from. When opportunities appear the actor may need to take the gig just to pay the bills. Luckily, work seems to beget work. The only downside is that if you’re not taking care of yourself, your work and — more importantly — you, could suffer.

1. ADD ‘SUPER’ TO YOUR DIET

You probably already know this, but the food you cram into your wordhole is the fuel that gives you the energy to go. Instead of putting crap into your body get some superfoods! From the website FoodMatters.tv:

“…they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch!”

My favorite superfoods:

  • oranges: one orange supplies more than 100% of the vitamin C needed in a day.
  • garlic: lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels, helping prevent clogged arteries & is antibacterial & antiviral, boosting resistance to stress-induced colds and infections.
  • blueberries: improves memory by protecting the brain from inflammation & boosts communication between brain cells.
  • blackberries: boasts more antioxidants than strawberries, cranberries or blueberries.
  • Greek yogurt: twice the protein of regular yogurt.
  • edamame: one cup has a whopping 22 grams of plant protein, as well as lots of fiber, folate and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.
  • brown rice: a top source of magnesium, a mineral your body uses for more than 300 chemical reactions (like building bones and converting food to energy).
  • spinach: a half-cup provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot & builds strong bones.
  • salmon: get all heart-smart omega-3s you need in a day from just 3 oz.
  • apples: contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of lung cancer.
  • eggs: an egg has 6 grams of protein and only 72 calories.
  • red wine, 1 glass: good for the heart by increasing HDL cholesterol reducing the risk of blood clots, containing powerful antioxidants, resveratrol and saponins.

Remember: you are what you eat.

2. REST BODY + MIND + SPIRIT

Sleep! Lay! Rest your body! Sure it sounds simple enough, but for some reason a lot of actors think they’re indestructible and go at 100% all the time. Unfortunately, if you’re running at 100% all the time you’re not taking time for yourself which means you’re also not taking care of yourself.

You need downtime. Your body, mind, and spirit needs time to recharge. It’s ok to take a break from life to veg for a bit. Grab some snacks and be a couch potato. Go for a leisurely walk or meditate. Check out a church service. Take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. If you’re sick in any form (physical, mental, spiritual), the entire production suffers and you could even get another cast member sick. You’re no good to anyone if you’re not taking care of yourself.

3. VITAMINS

According to the Harvard School of Public Health a daily multivitamin is all you need to stay at the top of your game. Enough said.

4. WARM-UPS

stretchingDid you know that a majority of injuries that occur on stage are self-induced? Far too often actors don’t take the necessary time to warm-up their bodies and the results can be painful. Take 20 minutes and stretch your muscles. Basic acting warm-up.

Oh, and do not forget about your voice — that’s a muscle too! Not near a piano or pitch pipe? You can use your smart phone to help you warm-up! VocalEase is a great app that can help you warm-up before every performance and is perfectly priced at $1.99. You can even do your vocal warm-ups with VocalEase while stretching!

Your body with thank you by keeping you healthy.

5. HYDRATE!

Glass filled with bottled waterDid you know that your body is practically 75% water? Water is something we need to help our body function properly. Without water we’ll die. That’s how important this clear liquid stuff is!

The Mayo Clinic knows a thing or two about water and has compiled this helpful guide on how much water you should drink every day.

My trick? Every day I challenge myself to drink my weight — in ounces — of water. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Or if I need a visual reminder I check the color of my urine. If properly hydrated your urine will look clear like water… Just don’t drink it.

I hope you’ve found these practical tips helpful!

What advice would you add to this list?

About Michael

Michael Venske lives in a third-tier Chinese city where he is chronicling (mis)adventures for his next solo performance endeavor tentatively titled: "The China Show." He's the creator/performer of "Thumbs Up" which premiered at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. and winner of the 2012 CTV "Hot Mic" Award. Michael knows how to use chopsticks and cook rice.
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2 Comments

  1. Only one glass of red wine…? I think you read that wrong. Isn’t it supposed to say one bottle?

    Haven’t tried VocalEase yet, I’m going to check it out – Thanks for the recommendation. I would also say that Play That Note (https://itunes.apple.com/app/playthatnote/id294902532?mt=8) is a fantastic app for warming up, or even plucking out your own notes on sheet music if you’re not familiar with a piano.

  2. Sure, you could drink a whole bottle… Side effect? The alcohol would help kill any bacteria in your system. Win-win!

    You’re totally welcome for the recommendation! And thank YOU for sharing Play That Note. I had no idea something so cool existed!

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