A runner knows exactly the anguish of the sudden pain tearing through the sides, just as one is reaching a comfortable rhythm while running. It’s not just the pain but the also the loss of precious time as the stitch slows you down instantly.
A stitch , as it is commonly called, is caused when the diaphragm reacts to the up and down movement caused while running or jogging as the muscles around it simply constrict causing acute pain. As we run, the body requires more oxygen, inducing heavier breathing which further puts pressure on the diaphragm causing an intense pain as we begin inhaling more intensely and frenetically gulping air in. The over-worked diaphragm goes into a spasm of pain as it works harder to breathe faster and also trying to manage the jolting motion.
Though stitches seem to appear as if by chance, it is in reality caused by a certain collusion of conditions and there are means to avoid this condition from occurring.
Means To Avoid Getting Stitches While Running
- It’s all In the core of things
Well quite simply, the most important part of your body whose strength you would have to build-the core. Doing planks, pushups and mountain climbing kind of workouts will help making it stronger. Good core strength will allow you to achieve your best speed and withstand better the strain of acute breathing while running short or long distances.
- Hydrating Is Critical
The time for doing so is equally important to note. Drinking lots of water just before the run is completely avoidable so a few gulps should be enough. But too less of water in the system will make you dehydrated-so the best option is to drink two cups of water an hour before the run which will help achieve flushing of the system.
- A Regular Breathing Pattern
Call it a technique but most of the time stitches occur due to inadequate inhalation and too much strain on the diaphragm because of the imbalance in breathing. The suggested pattern is two steps for inhalation and three for exhaling so that air can freely move around in the lungs. Breathe through deep in your stomach and not through just the upper chest. Also never should one run with the shoulders hunched and stiff.
- Warming Up is Mandatory
Before the run, getting the blood circulation going is as important as breathing well. So do some brisk walking, some stretching, long stepped walking and arm movements to loosen the muscles and to increase the breathing slightly, so as to prepare the lungs for greater activity gradually. This would also lessen the chances of injury.
- Correct Posture while Running
Perhaps as important as breathing correctly, this is a focus one has to maintain. The correct posture requires one to keep the back straight, the head up, the shoulders down and not hunched, and a very slight bending of the body forward. In case one loses the right posture, the group of muscles in exercise mode have to face strain and thus begins a stitch or a cramp.
Fixing a Stubborn Stitch
One may be faced with a rather stubborn stitch that keeps recurring. Here is a quick fix formula that works.
- Inhale deeply twice, breathing in very deep.
- Now hold the breath for about 3 seconds and then breathe out very slowly through lips that are almost closed.
- The left arm could be raised slowly and placed behind the head to give that part of the body maximum relaxation.
- One could also bend down touching ones toes and holding the pose for 5 seconds.
- Getting the blood circulation going in the affected area is also relieving and can be done with a gentle massage with ones fingers.
Get some more vital information on running related posture and technique at:
We are also available to provide you with posture correction through a bio-mechanical assessment that will be done on the treadmill where you would be taught the correct running style.
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