A slump is scrutinized to the nth degree. Hot streaks get their own set of inquiries. And there are enough nicks and bruises to fill a lifetime for us ordinary folk.
Getting away from it all is imperative, something each player handles in a different way. This is especially true on the road, where different environments can tax a player’s routine.
Some disappear to a movie theater. For others, it’s time with family at an area attraction. The routine for others involves anything outdoors.
"I think for everyone, whether you are a doctor, lawyer, baseball player, anything, it’s important to get away from what you do sometimes, so you don’t always think about it," said Red Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida.
The 26-year-old Hermida is new to the American League after being acquired in a trade with the Florida Marlins in November. He said he is just now getting used to some of the AL cities, such as Baltimore, which he visited in early May when the Sox played a three-game set.
After late nights at the park, Hermida’s routine often involves a late wake-up call, breakfast at whatever diner he has staked out in the city and then a stroll to clear his head.
"I go outside and walk around a little," he said.
Experts agree that taking a break is an important way to manage stress, and it’s even better if you can get in a good walk or run.
"Combining that break with exercise provides the added benefits of improved conditioning and weight management," said Dr. Russell S. Phillips, chief of the division of general medicine and primary care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "I advise scheduling times for breaks, just as you schedule appointments. Get it on your calendar and do it. Otherwise, you may never find time for it."
Roger Clemens was famous for his jogs in the green areas around Fenway Park, and many pitchers, who are required to jog as part of their regular routine, seek out the riverways and tree-lined running routes in other cities.
Whether it is a hard five miles or a short walk around the block, the connection with the outdoors does plenty, both physically and mentally, even for athletes who play most of their games under the summer sun.
"Sometimes, you can think about it too much and start struggling," Hermida said. "I think everybody has their way of relaxing."
Get the resources you need to start a regular walking program by checking out BIDMC's Walking Club homepage.