Running is the best form of exercise to keeps you in shape. Running burns your calories and lifts up your mood. Most people run to stay fit and healthy while some practice regularly for participating in a racing event. Medical fraternity is still uncertain whether the benefits of long distance running really outweigh its risk.
Abdominal pain is one of the most negative impacts experienced by runners, especially those who run an athletic race. Pain may occur during or after running. The cause may be abdominal cramps or a gastric distress. Along with cramps the person may also experience other gastric manifestations such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and of course giddiness.
In some cases cramps may subside after a period of time, while in some people it may aggravate an underlying condition such as a stomach ulcer or ischemic colitis. Abdominal pain after running in majority of cases is treatable condition. It can be prevented in first place if you take necessary precautions.
Cause Of Stomach Cramps While Running
There are multi-factorial reasons that can trigger gastrointestinal distress after running. The pain can be located in the middle of abdomen, on sides or all over abdomen.
- Runners sweat a lot. If they do not take proper fluid intake few hours before running, they are likely to suffer from dehydration. Dehydration is a major cause of cramps in abdomen among runners. Sweating causes loss of fluid as well as certain minerals such as sodium and potassium from the body. These electrolytes are normally involved in proper muscles function. Decrease of these electrolytes can cause cramps in abdominal muscles of runners. Water also acts as a lubricant in gastrointestinal tract.
- While running there is increase in rate of respiration. Person breathes rapidly. This may result in reduce oxygen supply to the muscles. With reduced oxygen the abdominal muscles and intestine may undergo spasm. Hence rapid breathing can be one of the causes for pain in abdomen after running.
- Gulping too much of fiber containing food or drinking caffeine containing drinks before running can cause cramps and pain in abdomen post endurance running exercise.
- Eating just before running can cause pain in abdomen after running. Especially eating foods that are high in protein and fat can be a cause for pain in abdomen.
- People suffering from colitis or appendicitis are at risk of abdominal pain after running long distance.
- Lot of people wear tight belt around waist or wear tight fitting clothes while running. Both this factors does not allow abdomen to expand well while breathing. This may lead to pain and cramps in abdomen.
Home Remedies For Stomach Cramps Due To Running
- A person having pain and cramps in abdomen after running needs rest and re-hydration. Both these natural therapies will help in relieving pain.
- A gentle massage on abdomen applying mustard oil or olive oil will also alleviate pain.
- Applying ice fomentation is also effective in alleviating post exercise cramps.
- Banana is rich source of potassium. Bananas will be beneficial as it can replace the lost potassium from perspiration after running. It will thus help to alleviate cramps to some extent.
- Person must always eat less before endurance marathon to prevent pain and cramps later on after the race is over. However, he must eat few hours before to sustain energy. Eat and drink carbohydrate containing food and drink one or two hours before you start running. Avoid fiber containing foods, high fat and protein containing food.
- Wear comfortable waist band and dress which will leave enough space for stomach to expand while breathing during running. Elastic waist band is commonly recommended.
- Drink water half hour before running. It will help to reduce the risk of dehydration that may occur after running.