Science has not found all the answers to the problems of cramps and stitches, however, well-trained, fuelled and hydrated athletes are at least risk of experiencing muscle cramps.
How to reduce the risk of a cramp:
Cramps are less common in athletes who are well trained and conditioned for the event they are training for or competing in
2. FUEL UP
Adequate carbohydrate before and during exercise may prevent premature muscle fatigue increasing the risk of cramping.
Although dehydration alone is not associated with a cramp it can contribute to premature muscle fatigue increasing the risk of cramping.
This is the briny, vinegary liquid left over in the jar after you’ve eaten all the pickles. Prickle juice has been used by athletes for over 15 years, to prevent and treat cramps however, there has been no hard, scientific evidence that is effective. However, recent studies suggest that the vinegar in pickle juice may send such a strong signal to nerve receptors in the mouth, that it relaxes nerves elsewhere in the body, effectively ending the cramp. Also, if you can swallow the unpleasant stuff, it doesn’t seem to have any negative effects. So, the rumour that the Australian Olympic team at the London Games were seen visiting McDonalds in the Olympic Village, asking for the pickle jars, may well be true?!
Can a stitch be prevented?
At the moment, the best advice we have to help avoid unwanted stitches during exercise is to limit the risk of friction in the abdomen by:
♦ Allowing two-three hours between eating and exercise to allow time for the stomach contents to empty into the small intestine and avoid food bouncing around.
♦ Be well hydrated and consume small, frequent amounts of fluid during sport to avoid over-stretching the stomach walls.
♦ Avoid highly concentrated drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit juice, immediately before and during exercise, as they empty slowly from the stomach and can leave it expanded for longer.
Thanks to our massage therapist and training dietitian, Coast Sport team member Ali Redman for preparing this blog!
To book in with our sports dietitian Jo Allan, call us on 4356 2588 or book online below!
Acknowelgement: Sports Dietitians Australia and ASD Alan McCubbin.