Do Workouts Cause Stomach Pain?

Do Workouts Cause Stomach Pain? Here’s What You Need to Know


Exercise is a great way to maintain your overall health and keep yourself fit. However, it’s important to understand that even though there are lots of benefits of working out, it can also cause some unwanted side effects. One common issue with workouts is abdominal pain, which can be due to poor form or overworking the body. This article will provide an overview of the possible causes of stomach pain from working out and potential ways to prevent and alleviate this discomfort.

Causes of Stomach Pain During Exercise

Working out is a great way to stay healthy and fit.However, sometimes exercising too hard or pushing yourself too far can lead to stomach pain. This can be due to muscle strain, dehydration, improper nutrition, or a number of other reasons. It is important to identify the cause of your stomach pain in order to address and prevent it from happening again in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of stomach pain during exercise.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of stomach pain during exercise. It occurs when a muscle or its attached tendon become stretched or torn due to a sudden contraction, overuse or incorrect form during exercise. This can cause acute sharp pain as well as less intense general discomfort and achiness. If the area becomes inflamed, it can also cause tenderness to the touch and swelling. Muscle strain often requires ice packs, rest and therapeutic exercises to help reduce pain and heal the affected area.


One of the most common causes of stomach pain experienced during exercise is dehydration. During exercise, the body loses liquids and electrolytes through sweat, and it is important to replace these fluids in order to keep hydrated. When this is not done properly, it can lead to stomach cramps and pain. It is recommended that individuals drink between 15-20 ounces of fluids before exercising and another 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes during a workout in order to stay well hydrated. In addition to drinking, consuming sports drinks designed for athletes can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.

Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can be a primary cause of stomach pain during exercise. When participating in any type of physical activity, it is important to ensure that your body is properly fueled and hydrated. Eating or drinking too much or too little can contribute to abdominal discomfort. Additionally, eating foods that are high in fat, sugar or fiber shortly before exercising may result in discomfort while exercising due to the disruption of blood flow away from the stomach and intestines to the muscles being used. Additionally, consuming certain food products known as “trigger” foods such as those that contain lactose, fructose or sorbitol may cause excess gas production leading to stomach pain while exercising. To avoid these issues and maintain optimal health, it is best to follow an individualized diet plan developed with a qualified sports nutritionist.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can both contribute to stomach pain during exercise. People who are feeling anxious may be more likely to experience physical symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea. This may be due to the increased amount of stress hormones like cortisol released by the body in response to stress and anxiety.

In some cases, exercise-induced gastrointestinal pain may be related to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can occur when carbohydrates are not eaten before exercising or after long periods of intense activity. Hypoglycemia can cause a wide range of symptoms including nausea and stomach cramps that are similar to the symptoms caused by stress or anxiety. To help reduce this risk, it is important to eat a balanced meal before working out and have a snack or small meal afterwards if needed.

Other potential causes for stomach pain during exercise include dehydration and overheating as well as a poor diet. If possible, it is important to hydrate before starting any form of physical activity, particularly if exercising outdoors in hot weather conditions. Consuming food high in fiber before exercising may also help reduce any potential discomfort associated with gastrointestinal issues during exercise.

Prevention of Stomach Pain During Exercise

Exercising can be a great way to stay healthy and fit. However, it can also cause some stomach pain if you don’t take the proper precautions. While there are a few things that could be causing the discomfort, the main culprit is usually incorrect form and bad posture. In this article, we’ll explore how to prevent stomach pain during exercise. We’ll look at the various techniques and strategies that can help you stay comfortable and pain-free while working out.

Warm Up and Cool Down

When it comes to preventing stomach pain during exercise, proper warm up and cool down helps combat this. Before beginning a workout, make sure you have warmed up your muscles with some light stretching and jogging in place or slow walking on the treadmill. This activity mobilizes your muscles, increases blood flow to the area, and starts to raise your heart rate and breathing rate – all good things before an intense workout.

After your workout is complete, take time to cool down by gradually decreasing the intensity of your exercise until your heart rate returns to normal. Give yourself at least five minutes of lower-intensity movements after a more intense routine like running or boot camp class. Pay attention to how you’re feeling throughout the workout, so that if any pain starts, you can modify the activity or stop altogether if necessary. Additionally, hydrating regularly during exercise can help prevent stomach pain from developing since dehydration can cause cramping in those who are more susceptible.

Proper Hydration

Exercising without proper hydration can be one of the main causes of stomach pain. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity, especially in hot climates or when exercising vigorously. Aim to drink 17-20 ounces (500-600 mL) two hours before exercising, 8 ounces (240 mL) of water 10-20 minutes prior to exercise and 7-10 ounces (210-300 mL) of water every 10 to 20 minutes throughout your exercise session. Staying properly hydrated helps your body absorb the added stress and sustain sweat at a disciplined level. Having a sports drink containing electrolytes is beneficial for those participating in strenuous or long duration exercise, as sweat can deplete the body’s levels of electrolytes. Drinking enough fluids also keeps your gut from being overly full during exercise; an excess amount can cause discomfort when jostled around while running or working out.

Proper Nutrition

Eating a healthy, balanced diet before and after exercise is important for avoiding stomach pain during exercise. Eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates 1-2 hours before you exercise, to provide your body with enough energy for the upcoming activity. Eating processed or sugary foods before exercising can cause an energy boom and then crash, leaving one feeling lethargic or light-headed. After your workout, replenish depleted energy stores by consuming a post-workout snack made of complex carbs and protein within 30 minutes after exercising.

Foods that are easy to digest should be eaten prior to working out as certain nutrient combinations can often cause indigestion and nausea, causing discomfort during the exercise session. More food measurements should also be taken if one is engaging in an intense workout lasting longer than 90 minutes because they may need additional fuel while they’re exercising. Lastly, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also important for maintaining hydration levels which can also prevent abdominal cramps during physical activity.

Stress Management

Stress management techniques can help to prevent stomach pain during exercise by reducing the amount of stress that is placed on the body. Stress causes the body to release hormones and chemicals which can cause muscle tension and digestive tract irritation, leading to gastric discomfort. Ways to reduce stress during exercise include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, visualization and progressive muscle relaxation. Adequate rest before performance, isotonic stretching prior to full activity, music relaxation and using positive self-talk can also support a successful workout with minimal stomach distress. A balanced and nutrient-rich diet as well as moderate physical activity that progresses gradually over time is beneficial for reducing or eliminating GI discomforts related to exercise.


After reviewing the evidence, it is clear that there can be a link between exercise and stomach pain. While the exact cause is not always known, some factors may contribute to the development of abdominal discomfort. This can include dietary issues, dehydration, fatigue and improper use of equipment. Regardless of the precise source of stomach pain after exercise, proper nutrition and hydration are important factors in reducing this discomfort. Professional guidance from a medical provider may be necessary to help identify any underlying medical issues. In addition to addressing physical symptoms with correct form during exercise and proper nutrition and hydration, listening closely to your body’s needs is also important in avoiding or managing any abdominal pain associated with workouts or other forms of strenuous activity.

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