The primary muscles used when jogging are the glutes, hamstrings and quads. Since abdominals are used as a support muscle to keep the body erect, the abdominal region can get sore. The soreness can occur from the muscles themselves, often felt by beginner joggers, or from digestive or breathing issues that feel similar to muscle soreness, but require a separate solution to fix the issue.
Delayed onset muscle soreness occurs between 24 and 48 hours after jogging. Microscopic tears will form in muscles that are worked beyond their usual capacity. With proper rest and recuperation, the muscles will condition themselves to handle a heavier workload. Continual problems with onset soreness can be solved by performing abdominal exercises such as crunches and situps and by consuming enough protein. At least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight is needed to prevent your body from breaking down muscle for fuel.
Sharp pain in your side that comes on quickly can mean you have side stitches. Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, medical director of the New York Road Runners, explains that side stitches are not completely understood, but are likely cramps in the diaphragm. Prevent stitches from developing by avoiding meals two hours before running and drinking more water throughout the day. Weekly runs strengthen the diaphragm and often fix the problem, but side stitches that persist can be a sign of heart trouble or circulation problems; see a doctor if side stitches persist.
Runners can lose as much as 2 liters per hour through sweat, making it impossible to stay hydrated while running. Hydrating prior to running, by drinking at least 13 ounces of water 10 to 20 minutes before exercise, can help delay dehydration. Also bring water with you and drink every 10 to 15 minutes. Eating fruit or consuming a sports drink with at least 10 percent sugar slows the rate that the body rids itself of liquids by 50 percent.
The faster you jog, the more oxygen your body needs. If running intensity exceeds personal physical capacity, breathing speeds up. As breathing becomes faster and more shallow, less blood and oxygen circulate throughout the body, leading to abdominal soreness. Prevent soreness by breathing full breaths using the lower stomach to be sure you are expanding your diaphragm fully, especially during bouts of higher intensity. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth and ensure that your lower stomach moves out with each inhalation.
Matthew Demers is a certified personal trainer based in Windsor, Canada. He is also the co-founder of YourSpace Fitness.