Why does My Stomach Hurt after Working Out?

Working out not only makes you feel good but also keeps you healthy. However, development of stomach ache post exercise is uncomfortable and you may be left wondering. Your stomach pain after exercise may result due to various factors related to diet or exercise; you may get benefit by changing your exercise to avoid common causes of pain. You should also remember that severe symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract may indicate a more serious illness.Hence, you should consult your physician in case your symptoms are persistent.


You should stop your workout immediately in case you develop any pain during your workout. If the pain continues, visit your physician.

Causes of Stomach Ache after Working Out

1. Dehydration

Dehydration may cause stomach pain particularly if you lose greater than 4-5% of the weight of your body. Maintaining adequate hydration is often a difficult task for athletes who run long distances. However, adequate hydration can be maintained by those who do varied workouts by drinking 500-600 ml of sports drink or water before they do exercise. You should also consume water during and after exercise to rehydrate properly.

2. Strain in muscles of the stomach

Workouts that consist of strenuous, intense exercise of the stomach muscles may result in their straining, particularly if you push yourself too hard. This may result in tearing of the tendon fibers or muscles, particularly rectus or oblique muscles. Tenderness and pain develop typically in a specific area. A strain of the oblique muscle causes tenderness in the sides and pain in the lower area of rib cage. Strain of the rectus muscle causes pain a few inches beneath navel. Pain is especially aggravated by working out, sneezing, coughing and other such activities, which cause stretching of the injured muscle. Pain occurring due to a mild strain diminishes gradually over a period of ten to 14 days, whereas severe strains may take more time of up to ten weeks to get better.

3. Dietary Causes of stomach ache after working out

Stomach pain may occur due to not eating properly before workout. Consuming a large meal, which is rich in fat and protein slows your digestion and may result in stomach pain. While going for endurance exercises including marathons and races, you should take care of your diet during the days before the event. Different types of nutrients are absorbed in the digestive system at variable rates. While carbs are broken down and absorbed easily, foods that are high in protein and fiber get absorbed slowly. You should reduce your consumption of such foods one day before and during the day of workout to prevent stomach ache after exercise.

4. High Intensity Exercise

A common cause of stomach pain after exercise is doing workouts at high intensity. People who are participating in certain athletic events push themselves while practicing in comparison to when they normally do workouts, resulting in stomach pain. To prevent overstraining, you should focus more on training. Perform exercise up to the intensity level desired for your competition. Moreover, make sure that the conditions of your exercise mimic those of your competition. Conditioning the body plays an important role in decreasing the bouts of stomach ache. The majority of the athletes condition their body gradually and develop fewer complaints related to digestive system as the training progresses.

5. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Muscles of the abdominal wall are engaged in almost all types of workouts. Abdominal or stomach pain that happens eight to 24 hours post a workout is usually a result of DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). This kind of pain generally occurs if you have included new types of abdominal exercises in your workout or increased intensity or reps of previously done exercises. Some of the characteristic symptoms of DOMS are soreness, stiffness, tenderness and reduced strength (temporary) of muscles. The symptom intensity may range from severe to mild and depends on how much overexertion of muscles you have done. When oblique muscles of the abdomen are involved, then generalized pain develops on sides of abdomen. When rectus abdominis muscles are involved, then pain in the front of the abdomen develops. Symptoms of DOMS increase within initial one to two days and resolve gradually over the next five to ten days.

How to Relieve Sore Muscles of Stomach after an Exercise Session

Step 1

Rest and avoid doing any strenuous exercise of the abdominal muscles till your soreness is resolved. The muscles will not get time to heal if you start exercising your abdominal muscles again the very next day you develop stomach ache after working out.

Step 2

Take OTC (over-the-counter) acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve soreness of muscles and reduce swelling. Take two tablets every four hours, or follow the recommendations regarding the dosage as mentioned on the label of the medicine.

Step 3

You can take a bath in cold water to reduce swelling and numb throbbing muscles. Fill cold water in your bathtub till it is half full. Add 15-20 ice cubes in the bathtub. Now sit in the cold water; the water should soak you till the belly button. The head and chest should be kept out of water as complications could occur due to icy cold water. Let your stomach soak for at least 5-10 minutes.

Step 4

You can use warm compress such as hot water bottle, which helps in reducing spasms and muscle cramps that accompanies sore muscles of abdomen. Overuse of muscles cause their involuntary contraction or spasm during healing. You should apply warm compress to your sore muscles for at least 15-20 minutes at one time to reduce stiffness and relax your muscles of abdomen.

Step 5

You should visit your physician if your stomach ache after working out does not get better even after a week. In certain cases, such pain may have a more serious cause such as a sprain or strain of muscle. When your muscle pain remains same or aggravates over time, visit a physician to rule out any serious complications.


Stretch the muscles of your abdomen by twisting on sides and touching your toes post your workout to decrease development of pain in muscles after exercise.

Current time: 01/28/2021 09:18:20 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 1867.38KB