Lower Abdominal Cramping After Exercise

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Though consistent exercise is encouraged by physicians, trainers and other health specialists, it is possible to harm yourself while doing it. From minor sprains to broken bones and uncomfortable cramping, workouts are a breeding ground for injuries and ailments. Lower abdominal cramping after exercise is a common discomfort experienced by both consistent and novice exercisers and occurs for a variety of reasons.

Side Stitch

Lower abdominal cramps may be the result of tightened/cramped abdominal wall muscles. This type of cramp is commonly referred to as a side stitch. Hard, erratic or vigorous breathing is often the culprit for side stitches. Because the body isn't getting enough air, your muscles are deprived of oxygen. Low oxygen supplies cause your muscles to tighten and cramp, which results in pain ranging from mild to severe.

Side Stitch Treatment

Side stitches are easily treated. First, slow down or stop exercises altogether to catch your breath. Wait until your normal breathing pattern has returned so that oxygen can reach all of your muscles. If you can't stop exercising, you can also reach down and gently massage the affected lower abdominal muscles. Continue massaging until the pain has subsided.


In some cases, you may experience what seems like an actual lower abdominal muscle cramp when, in actuality, you're facing a gastrointestinal issue. Gastrointestinal-related cramping can be caused by flatulence, dehydration, bloating, eructation or a generic stomach ache. Exercise can sometimes make these issues worse.

Gastrointestinal Treatment

Make sure you are fully hydrated before, during and after exercise. Gastrointestinal ailments are often experienced by runners and extreme athletes. To prevent gastrointestinal-related cramping, don't exercise on a full stomach. Always avoid food and beverages that cause belching, flatulence, bloating and upset stomachs. Food and drinks to avoid include milk and products that are high in sodium or sugar or extremely cold.