Abdominal complaints when exercising

After exercise, abdominal complaints may arise such as sore abdominal muscles, abdominal muscle strain, stomach complaints, stitches in the side and heartburn. If you exercise too soon after a meal, it can increase the risk of complaints. It can lead to painful cramps and perhaps an urge to go to the toilet. If you exercise too intensively or exercise for a long time, abdominal complaints can also occur. What causes abdominal pain after exercise and what can you do to limit the complaints?

The usefulness of a warm-up

A muscle that does not yet have proper blood flow is more at risk of getting an injury. That is why runners who do not warm up quickly get the feeling of acidification in their legs. A warm-up not only ensures that you perform better, it makes the muscles flexible and prepared for the effort to come. In many sports the abdominal muscles are not used intensively, but it is better to warm up these muscles as well. Then you are well prepared if you have to make an unexpected movement with your stomach. If you have done a good warm-up, you will not immediately notice a sore muscle. Usually it is only the next day that the muscle is sore. This is because the muscle has less blood flow.

Abdominal pain due to muscle tear

If you suddenly start exercising vigorously without training, there is a good chance that muscle pain will develop. This can also happen in your abdominal area. In addition to normal muscle pain, a strain or tear in the abdominal muscles can also occur. This may be the result of a sudden forceful movement or fall. For example, if you play contact sports such as martial arts or football, an explosive tension can occur in the abdomen, which stretches the muscles a little too far. Even a hiker who stumbles can tear his abdominal muscles. This can lead to a painful injury, in some cases requiring a visit to the physiotherapist.

Abdominal exercises

Especially if you are not used to doing abdominal exercises, you can be left with significant muscle pain. People often enthusiastically start a series of sit-ups because they want to have a flatter stomach. After the intensive training, they get so much muscle pain that many quickly drop out and accept that they will not get a six-pack. Try to build up abdominal exercises slowly. Alternate training for the rectus and oblique abdominal muscles. Abdominal exercises are often done after a bit of running or cycling. The belly has already warmed up a bit.

Abdominal pain while running

A number of runners experience abdominal cramps while running. Sometimes so intense that they feel the urge to go to the toilet and can hardly hold it in anymore. Runners are generally more likely to suffer from abdominal complaints than other athletes such as cyclists and swimmers. This is probably due to the shaking motion during running. This promotes intestinal movements, which promotes bowel movements. Some people even get diarrhea. Eating too heavily or eating too close to training can also lead to abdominal pain. In addition to making you less fit while running, it can also lead to heartburn and flatulence. Some runners suffer from stitches in the side.

Stitches in the side

When exercising for a long time or intensively, some athletes suddenly experience stitches in the side. Sometimes it is so intense that you have to stop exercising for a while. By stopping or slowing down the pace, the pain will subside automatically. It is not entirely clear what causes this. Athletes who train on a full stomach are more likely to get stitches in the side than people with an empty stomach. Usually the sting is located at the level of the liver on the right or at the spleen area on the left. Some people benefit from clenching their fists during training so that the blood goes to the arms instead of the spleen, while others do some relaxing exercises in between. Read more about this topic at: side stitches during sports.

Gastric acid

Heartburn occurs in both non-athletes and athletes. Exercising can cause or worsen the symptoms. It almost always has to do with nutrition. For example, a stomach that is too full will increase the risk of heartburn. This increases the chance that the acidic stomach contents will return to the esophagus. The type of food also plays a role. If you eat very spicy food or eat something that would normally give you heartburn, such as tomato paste or fatty foods, it can promote heartburn.


Heavy intensive training, long training or tension before a competition, for example, can cause nausea. Exercising makes it take longer for your stomach to empty. It can have all kinds of consequences, such as nausea or diarrhea. The type of food you eat and how long you ate it before exercise plays an important role. Exercising if you have an infection or are on antibiotics is not recommended. This hinders recovery and you may feel sicker due to the effort.

read more

  • The usefulness of a warm-up when exercising
  • Mineral loss due to sweating during exercise
  • Stitches in the side during sports: causes and treatment