Athletes know the importance of regular practice and workouts. However, you can't practice every day. In fact, you probably don't want to. Excessive practice sessions can lead to repetitive motion injuries, burnout, and muscle fatigue. 

So, what should you do to stay fit on the days you aren't practicing? Here are five exercises that can help keep you in top shape. 

Hit the Trails to Build Cardiovascular Endurance

Trail running has grown in popularity over the past decade, yet many runners steer clear of it. That is a big mistake since trail running can seriously boost cardiovascular endurance.  

If you are seriously committed to the running lifestyle, then you know how important continued training is for proper endurance. However, you may not realize how a small change like adding uneven terrain can help take your workout to the next level. 

Runners aren't the only athletes who can benefit from hitting the trails, and you won't even have to run if you don't want to. Hiking is also a great workout. If you add a pack to your outing, you can also improve muscle conditioning. 

Higher elevations will push you harder thanks to lower atmos[heric oxygen levels. Plus, you get to spend time outside in nature, which is known to boost both physical and emotional health. 

Tackle Some Boulders for Muscle Strength

Are you looking to build serious muscle while also having fun? Bouldering might be an excellent choice. This popular climbing sport demands all of the strength needed for other climbing activities while keeping you close to the ground. 

That does not mean you don't have to follow some basic safety precautions, however. It's a good idea to go with a group or guide your first few times out so you can get familiar with techniques and terminology. 

Alternatively, you can practice at one of the many indoor bouldering gyms that are cropping up around the country. 

Take a Boot Camp for Some Variety

If you thrive when someone is pushing you to do your best and work harder, then boot camp fitness may be just the workout you need. 

You may find yourself doing anything from running sprints to playing fitness games to flipping oversized tires during your training session. Boot camps are often led by personal trainers, so you can expect expert knowledge about physical conditioning techniques. 

That is great if you have a specific sport-oriented goal you want to work on.

Use Yoga to Increase Flexibility & Range of Motion

Yoga can benefit almost anyone, athletes included. It helps improve flexibility and range of motion, which can play a major role in sports performance. In addition, yoga is an excellent tool for relieving stress and anxiety. 

You might even find that it helps your focus and concentration. There are several styles of yoga that you can practice. 

Two of the most popular versions include Hatha and Bikram yoga. However, if you are recovering from an injury or really need a relaxing stretch, a restorative yoga class may be a better fit. 

Practice Pilates to Lengthen and Tone

While many people confuse Pilates and yoga, they are two distinctly different types of exercise. You may see some overlap in exercises, such as planks and v-sits, but there are more differences than similarities. 

For example, where yoga is focused on the mind-body connection, Pilates is more interested in building long, lean muscles. There are several different class formats available. 

Some rely on a special piece of equipment, known as the Reformer, that assists with positions. Others use strength training equipment like bands, weights, and hoops, to build muscles. A traditional Pilates class, on the other hand, will be mat-based with little to no equipment.


As an athlete, you know that exercise is critical to maintaining top form. However, doing the same activities day after day can get boring and may contribute to injuries. 

Try using bouldering, yoga, Pilates, a boot camp, or hiking to stay in shape the next time you have a day without practice.  


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