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Side Stitches from Running

Your "stitches" could result from a few different things: a spasm of your diaphragm, caused by breathing shallowly and rapidly with your chest instead of more deeply and evenly using your diaphragm; weak abdominal muscles; and you may be starting off too fast.

There are a few things you can do to try to reduce your stitches:

1) This is my favorite way: take a deep breath, then force the air out of your lungs by blowing hard enough anyone around you would hear it. Before you breathe in again, try to force more air out of your lungs about 4 more times. When you do this, you should feel your stomach muscles contract as you "wring" the air out of your lungs. Then take a slow deep breath followed by a few relaxing gentle breaths in. That should do itů

2) Usually people breathe in and out on the same footfall -- try changing your respiratory cycle so that, instead of breathing in and out as your right foot lands, for example, try inhaling and exhaling as your left foot lands. The footfall-to-breath ratio is either 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running faster.

3) Strengthen your abdominal muscles with crunches.

4) Train yourself to breathe relaxed, slowly and deeply, using your diaphragm.

5) Remember to warm up.

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