At some time while playing rugby you may experience cramps or stitches. Scientists are still trying to find out the exact cause of these two conditions and how to avoid them.
1. Allow for adequate recovery and rest for muscles after hard training.
2. Stay well hydrated during exercise (see Fluid) but don’t over do it.
3. Sports drinks (5-7% concentrations) are a good option since they empty from the stomach far quicker than more concentrated solutions or soft drinks (generally 10% concentration) and sports drinks help to replace sodium losses.
4. Adopt a pattern of drinking small amounts of fluid at regular intervals during exercise rather than trying to drink large volumes all at once.
5. Eat salty foods – Marmite sandwiches, pretzels, biltong and salty crackers.
6. Breathe with the diaphragm, strengthen the abdominals and stretch. Progressively increasing the intensity and duration of your training will also help prevent stitches and cramps.
7. Follow the pre-match eating guidelines.
8. Should a stitch occur – ease this by slowing down or dropping your intensity and bend forward while pushing on the affected area and breathe deeply. Lie down while elevating you hips.