Have you ever been in the middle of a great run and feel like you could go on forever? Then it hits you, that horrible, annoying pain in your side—the side stitch. It’s actually a cramp or spasm that’s caused by pressure from your diaphragm bouncing up and down as you run, hitting your liver. It’s a common ailment amongst joggers and runners, and likely to be an annoyance at the very least for the rest of your workout. Here are four ways to never get a side stitch or side cramp again!
Stretch before you run
Your diaphragm is a muscle that needs to be stretched just as much as your hamstrings. Do this easy stretch daily to prevent side stitches. Reach your right hand high in the air and then bend your torso to the left side and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this on the opposite side.
Purse your lips
Focus on your breathing pattern to prevent side stitches before they happen. Make sure you’re breathing in and out through your mouth while you run, jog, or walk, and never hold your breath. A popular method for alleviating a side stitch before it happens and during the cramp is pursing your lips when you breathe, because it helps you focus on deep breathing.
Stay hydrated before and throughout your workout. You need 4 to 6 oz of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Lack of hydration causes an oxygen deficiency to your muscles, making even an easy workout seem challenging.
Keep pre-workout meals small
Avoid heavy meals for at least three hours prior to exercising. If you need a little something to power up your workout, have a light snack one hour before your workout. Too much food in your stomach causes pressure in your diaphragm, which causes the side stitch to occur when you start exercising.