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5 Ways to Deal with Side Stitches

You're running full speed ahead and suddenly you get an excruciating pain in your side: the dreaded side stitch. Nothing kills a good workout like getting cramps and luckily there are a few things you can do to keep them at bay. Here are five easy to follow tips:

  • Try to avoid eating one to two hours before a workout. If you must eat then avoid fatty foods and proteins and stick to carbohydrates.
  • Hydrate before and during exercise; contrary to popular belief, dehydration can increase muscle cramps.
  • Focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths every once in a while to stretch your diaphragm as well as to ensure that all parts of your body are receiving the amount of oxygen they need to keep going.
  • Once you first experience cramping slow down your pace until the pain subsides.
  • Massaging or pressing on the area and bending over can help reduce the pain.

Do you have a no-fail remedy for side stitches? Share them below.


Join The Conversation
razeenah razeenah 9 years
As soon as I get a cramp I slow down slightly and massage the area for a few minutes.
katie_c katie_c 9 years
when it comes to cramps, my cross country and track coaches in high school always told us to run faster--run through the pain. work the cramp against itself. like moonlite said, focus on breathing or something else and the cramp will disappear. cramps are sometimes formed by a buildup of lactic acid and you can rid your body of the collection if you intensify your heart rate--get the blood moving faster. otherwise it'll sit stagnant and build on its own. that's my experience anyway.
beepbeeplove beepbeeplove 9 years
my trainer said that stitches are usually caused by fast and shallow breathing, and also by a diet low in sodium. how interesting :)
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Taking a drink of water usually helps me out. In bootcamp, they told us to put our hand over our head when we got cramps... it works some, but not as good as the breathing/water pointers do.
chhavi chhavi 9 years
I actually took a deep breath on reading, "focus on ur breathing". feels good :)
moonlite moonlite 9 years
I just ignore the pain and keep running. Or focus really hard on something else so you don't notice.
kia kia 9 years
I slow down and focus on my breathing. I try not to stop or walk when I get them.
lattegoodness lattegoodness 9 years
The breathing thing really works for me. I'll take a deep breath through my nose and then exhale slowly through my mouth making an "o" shape, making sure the air pressure is consistent throughout. If you do that like 10 times, usually the cramp goes away.
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