Have you ever wanted to know how to stop side cramps from ruining your workout? Whether you are running in a race, jogging to lose weight, or doing an intense workout to build up your endurance, cramps (or side stitches) can be immensely annoying and sometimes quite painful. They manage to strike at the most inopportune times and can completely destroy your exercise routine. The good news is that you do not have to suffer through these bothersome aches; there are actually several ways you can stop and treat pain during a workout. Here are five practical measures you can take to keep pain from ruining your workout!
Number Five: Practice Breathing. Side cramps occur because of improper breathing. When you are winded and taking shallow breaths, you are much more susceptible to these pesky pains.
If you practice breathing prior to your workout, you can train your body to take in and process oxygen more efficiently. Work on breathing deeply from your diaphragm, letting the air fill your lungs from the bottom up. Doing this throughout the day will make it a more natural response when you start exerting yourself later.
You should also focus attention on your breathing while working out. If you are a runner, it is easy to synchronize your breaths with the movement of your feet; try breathing in on one step and out every third step, or whatever feels most natural for you personally. By paying attention to your breathing during your workout, you can adjust your intensity appropriately so that you do not become too winded.
Number Four: Pace Yourself, Especially When You Start. Exercising can be a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that you may be tempted to lunge head-first into your routine, jog, or race. Do not do this.
Starting your workout too fast can result in you getting out of breath more quickly. If you are not used to pushing hard from the onset, you will likely be more susceptible to side stitches. There is nothing worse than starting strong just to have your gusto dwindle ten minutes later. Take the time to warm up appropriately and let your body adjust to the new level of exertion and breathing.
Number Three: Hydrate Appropriately. Hydration is an essential component of any workout routine. If you are even mildly athletic, you know already to keep yourself well hydrated all day long. Something you may not have considered, however, is how you should, or should not, consume water while exercising.
If you are thirsty, you should definitely hydrate, but watch that you do not hydrate too quickly. Frantically guzzling water in the middle of your workout can negatively impact your breathing, causing you to gasp for air between gulps. Do not let your breathing get out of whack in this way. Instead, take small sips of water often.
Number Two: Slow Down When Side Cramps Hit. So what should you do when, despite all of your preventative measures, you get a side cramp during your workout? If you do develop a side stitch, know that it is okay to slow down. You need to let your breathing stabilize. If you are doing reps when the pain hits, take a beat and decrease your speed. If you are running, slow your pace or opt for walking until you catch your breath.
Number One: Workout More Often. When it comes to getting side cramps, offense is the best defense. In terms of exercise, that means do it often and do it regularly. The more frequently you work out, the more opportunity your body has to get strong. You will find that your body naturally adjusts, effectively learning the best way to avoid pains like side stitches without you having to do much at all.
In fact, you will probably find that you cramp more often after a long break from exercising. This is because your body has started to revert back to a more sedentary state. If you hate side stitches, let that be some additional motivation for you to keep up with your workout routine!
Now that you know a few simple ways to prevent side cramps, you are ready to get out there and conquer the gym, track, or trail. Remember, breathing is key. If nothing else, dedicate to memory that you are more likely to have side cramps when you do not breathe properly. By utilizing these easy five easy tips, you can usually prevent these frustrating pains. Do not let troublesome side cramps throw off your active groove!