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Stitches are a nuisance for many runners, especially those beginners who have taken up exercise amid the pandemic. While most regular runners will carefully plan runs to prevent them from happening, first-timers will experience them more often. Getting rid of them is an easy fix, according to experts.
How to get rid of a stitch
Side stitches are a runner’s nightmare and can cause cramping or light pain on either side of the abdomen, above the hips.
Also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), research has found around 70 percent of people taking part in athletic activity experience them.
Experts still debate about the cause of ETAP, but theories point to the movement of blood to the diaphragm, abdominal and pelvic cavity irritation.
One method for resolving a stitch involves breathing through the diaphragm.
People can accomplish this by pushing out their stomach while they breathe in.
Taking the time to pause and breathe deeply can often create some relief as well.
Otherwise, stitches are often associated with exercise intensity and can be reduced by briefly toning it down.
People can achieve similar effects by stretching their abdominal muscles, which, in practice, means putting a hand over their head while bending into the affected side.
Staying stationary and pressing fingers into the stitch could help as well while bending the torso forward.
The best way to deal with a stitch is to stop one before it occurs, however.
Prevention is more straightforward and allows people to continue exercising without interruption.
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How to prevent a stitch
While scientists remain split on what exactly causes stitches, they have drawn some common conclusions on what precedes them.
Some believe pre-exercise meals can aggravate stitches, and trying to avoid dial back consumption beforehand is a sound strategy.
Pre-running snacks should consist of easily digestible foods (not fibre or fat-heavy) and should only be rated an hour and a half before going for a jog, and come with adequate hydration.
Dr Lavender added people should also make sure they warm-up first.
He said: “Going from relaxed, straight into a fairly high-intensity run may also result in a severe stitch in a matter of minutes.
“So, begin with a warm-up and build the intensity gradually.
“This will optimise your workout and reduce the chance of a stitch.”
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