5 Tips to Prevent Side Stitches

“Sides stitches” are nasty muscle cramps that pop up in the sides of the abdomen, and they have the potential to ruin any athlete’s game or race. Side stitches can range from annoying to unbearably painful, so athletes should take as many steps as possible before practices or events to prevent them from creeping in. Read on to learn five expert tips that athletes of all types can use to prevent side stitches.  

  • Eat breakfast early. The number one cause of side stitches is digestion. When food sits in your stomach while you exercise, it can cause your muscles to cramp up, resulting in the dreaded side stitch. On the day of your game or race, eat a light breakfast low in fiber and fat at least 2 to 3 hours before your event begins.
  • Don’t load up on carbs. Too many carbohydrates on the morning of your event can cause you to feel bloated, resulting in increased cramping. If you need a pre-game snack, healthy fruits and vegetables like bananas or sliced bell peppers provide power without the cramping carbs.  
  • Warm up. A casual warm-up before a game, event, or race can do wonders when it comes to preventing side stitches. Remember to always schedule in at least 10 minutes to warm-up your muscles before any event or practice.
  • Add abdominal workouts to your routine. Research has shown that athletes with strong oblique muscles are less likely to deal with side stitches. Adding in regular abdominal workouts to your routine will help you ban side stitches from your game over time!
  • Control your breathing. Your muscles need oxygen to work properly. Short, shallow, or labored breathing can cut off desperately-needed oxygen flow, leading to a side stitch. If you notice a stitch coming on, try to reset your breathing with a few deep breaths.  

As the official caterers of the Philadelphia Soul and the Temple University Owls, Village Catering knows first-hand that an athlete’s diet can directly impact how well he or she performs on the field. To learn more about how athletic catering from Village Catering can help your team reach their goals both on the field and in the kitchen, give us a call today at 215-437-3337.