So you’re feeling good and decide to add running to your daily workout but then those annoying, painful side stitches show up! Here are some wonderful tools to help avoid that pain and keep you in the game.
The most effective way, to prevent a side stitch is to:
1. Be sure to take deep full “belly breaths” while running. This will allow the diaphragm to lower fully and reduces the stress on it. If you take a lot of shallow breaths when running, the diaphragm remains in a consistently high position and never lowers enough to allow the connective ligaments of the liver to relax. The diaphragm then becomes stressed, and a “stitch” may result.
2. Another way, to prevent stitches, is to make sure you include a warm-up that helps you gradually increase your running speed. If you head out in an all-out dash out the door you’re more likely to take quick, short, shallow breaths, inducing a side stitch cramp.
3. Make sure you are hydrated (that doesn’t mean taking a gulp before you run out the door).
4. Give your body enough time to digest your pre-run meal. What you eat ahead of your run can impact your gastrointestinal tract causing agitation. Notice if you get side stitches when you eat a certain food.
5. Elimination. Make sure you’ve completely moved your bowels before you run.
Finally, if you do experience a side stitch. Slow down or stop and massage it using moderate pressure with the heel of your hand. It will usually go away in a few moments.