It’s been so hot outside! I can’t even walk by a pool without wanting to jump right in, and I’m not the only one. People of all ages are beating the heat by sticking close to the water, reading, sleeping, and eating in between dips in the pool. It’s a perfect solution, but is it safe to swim right after eating? A million moms say it’s not, but science says otherwise.
What’s All the Fuss About?
The old wives’ tale holds that you have to wait at least 30 minutes after eating to go swimming, otherwise you could get a cramp and drown. The idea behind this is that blood is diverted from your extremities to your stomach during digestion, leaving your muscles under-fueled, and susceptible to cramping if you tire them out swimming.
Jump Right In!
The truth is that digestion does require a little extra blood flow to the stomach, but it’s not enough to cause life-threatening cramps. You might get some slight abdominal discomfort if you engage in any vigorous physical activity on a full stomach, but it’s nothing that would cause drowning. Armed with this knowledge, you’re welcome to hit the waves with hotdog in hand.
Listen to Your Body
Just like you wouldn’t want to go for a long run immediately following dinner, you probably won’t be too happy if you decide to swim laps on a full stomach either. The issue isn’t so much one of drowning as it is of losing your lunch. Just like with any form of exercise, listen to your body. If you’re too full to swim, finish a chapter in your book first. If a dip in the pool looks appetizing though, go ahead and jump right in!
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