Stomach cramps after running is a common problem that many people face; however, it can be easily countered. This article provides information regarding the same.
Experiencing stomach cramps after any form of exercise is not an uncommon occurrence, and many people go through this from time to time. Sometimes, the pain can be quite unbearable, and it can leave one reeling in pain and unable to continue with the activity that caused the cramps. It is important to know the causes and suitable treatment options before you embark on an exercise regime, so that you can be better prepared about what to do when such a situation arises. Some people even refer to this pain as a ‘stitch’, and it can be an extremely painful experience to go through.
The abdominal pain after running is a very common problem. When an individual experiences a ‘stitch’, it is the abdominal wall muscles in the body that are being affected. Apart from this, the gastrointestinal (GI) system of the body can also experience discomfort after running and exercising.
Stitches are said to be caused by lack of oxygen supply to the abdominal muscles, and this is a direct result of shortened breathing which occurs while running and jogging.
GI problems arise during or after running as a result of some inherent problem in the system, which gets aggravated by running itself. This includes varying degrees of flatulence, belching, nausea, stomach ache, bloating, and intestinal cramps. All these factors are affected by how fast we run, and what and when we eat before running. For this reason, it is recommended that one should not eat anything for at least 2 hours before running, otherwise you may increase the chances of upper and lower stomach cramps due to GI problems.
Another common cause of stomach cramps after exercise and running is dehydration. While exercising, the body loses a large amount of water in the form of sweat. This results in a severe lack of water in the body, especially in the abdominal area. This distinct lack of water inadvertently leads to these abdominal cramps after running. Therefore, one should regularly hydrate oneself and drink lots of water before, during, and after running. Keeping this in mind, one should also remember not to drink large amounts of water in one go before running.
Tips to Prevent or Control the Abdominal Pain
In most cases, the pain subsides by stopping any physical activity that you were carrying out, and by gently rubbing the area that is hurting. The following tips may help to manage the stomach cramps:
- Do not run on a full stomach. Therefore, avoid heavy meals 2-4 hours before running.
- Keep yourself hydrated by sipping small amounts of water before and during exercise. However, ensure that you do not drink large amounts of water before running.
- Perform lower back and abdominal exercises regularly to strengthen the abdominal muscles. This will help minimize the occurrence of cramps after running.
- Perform some stretching exercises before running. For example, lift your arms over your head, and bend to the left and right at the waist.
- Reduce your running speed for a few minutes and take deep breaths. Practice a breathing pattern which involves inhaling in three steps and exhaling in two steps. Remember to push your stomach out while you inhale, and relax while you exhale. This will increase the oxygen supply to your abdominal area, and it will reduce the pain almost instantly.
If you experience the stomach cramps very often, then you should consult a doctor for a more detailed check up. He may ask you a lot of details about your running style, the surface on which you run, your medical history, etc., and all these will help him determine the cause and treatment of the problem. It is also said that when one runs on the road or in a park, the stomach bounces more vigorously than it does when one runs on a treadmill. Therefore, you can get rid of this problem by running on a treadmill as well. You must not panic if you feel extreme stomach cramps. This is a problem that plagues many people, but in most cases, the pain vanishes as quickly as it comes.
Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.