How to Beat Side Stitches

The diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage, plays an important role in breathing. Just like your leg muscles, your diaphragm can fatigue and cramp when put under too much stress. Thats why side stitches tend to strike beginner runners or those stepping up pace or distance. The good news is that there are a variety of effective strategies. Shore Up Your Core Performing just 10 minutes of core-strengthening exercises, like planks and donkey kicks, three times a week (or practicing yoga or Pilates on a regular basis) can strengthen weak diaphragm muscles, making them more resilient to fatigue and less likely to cramp. Bonus: A stronger core will also help you run more efficiently and reduce your overall vulnerability to injury. Fuel Wisely What and when you eat before a run may contribute to side stitches. If your body is still digesting food, there will be less blood flowing to the diaphragm, which can induce spasms. Foods that are high in fat and