Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Jogging for Normal People: OMG! I Have Cramps

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Despite the assortment of physical set backs I had when I first started this jogging gig, things had been looking up. I was running longer, I'd found a rhythm, and I rarely had concerns that the burning in my chest was the precursor to a heart attack. In fact, the most significant hurdle I've been overcoming these days is the motivation to get out there in the first place.


But my last couple times out, I've been cramping, which sucks.

I have a few pet peeves in life. The largest -- and by far the most frustrating -- is when a device that's otherwise working normally develops an asinine little problem that a) you can't fix, and b) renders the device utterly useless. Like when the TV almost works, but it just a bit too fuzzy to make out what's going on. Or when my computer will open some windows, but not others, or slows down such a mind-numbing pace that the repercussions of every click are 5 minutes in duration. Why? Why? WHY?

Or, when my otherwise normal functioning body -- breathing, legs pumping, mind on the prize -- is brought to it's knees by some stupid little pain in my side that just won't go away no matter what I try!

So I turned to my friend, the Internet, in order to end my side stitch, once and for all.

I recognize this is a fairly basic problem, with a number of straightforward solutions. The more fitness-savvy among you might want to skip ahead to the next post, but for anyone who's as clueless as I am, the following seem like viable ways to cure that obnoxious runner's cramp once and for all.

According to About.com, this is why it happens: Now researchers believe that the side stitch is caused by stretching the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs, particularly the liver. The jarring motion of running while breathing in and out stretches these ligaments.

Ok, great. So how do we fix it? According to website called Cramps Help, it's easy: To prevent this from happening, it is advised to take evenly spaced, deep breaths. Shallow breathing means the diaphragm is not given time to lower enough for the ligaments to relax.

For a more thorough explanation, including tips on how to relieve side stitch-related pain, check out this helpful site from Mother Nature.com.

Hopefully this works. I'll let you know next week.

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