This is a common question asked about swimming. As far as the answer goes, you may have heard it’s best to wait about half an hour or so after eating before you can safely get back into your San Diego swimming pool—a recommendation that can be traced back to a Boy Scout handbook reference from over a century ago. Below, we dive deeper into this old piece of advice to determine just how accurate it is.
Even today, there are some sources that claim waiting about 30 minutes after eating to go for a swim is best. The reasoning behind this advice is that the process of digestion takes blood away from the limbs normally used for swimming and diverts it to the stomach and other parts of the digestive system. According to this theory, the arms and legs won’t have enough blood flow to function correctly, which could increase the risk of losing balance in the water or drowning.
There are no official recommendations from the American Red Cross or the American Academy of Pediatrics about how long a person should wait to swim after eating. This is the case with most other credible sources as well. The truth is a healthy human body is perfectly capable of keeping blood flowing to all its parts even while the process of digestion is going on.
Another reason for the lingering “30 minutes” myth is exercise-related transient abdominal pain. You may have heard this referred to as a “stitch.” Specifically, this is a sharp pain felt in the area below the rib cage. It’s believed to be related to restricted blood flow and cramping affecting the diaphragm. This type of discomfort can be experienced with any type of vigorous exercise shortly after eating. It’s possible to feel discomfort in your stomach area if you go right into a more strenuous swimming routine too soon after you finish eating.
Swimming with a full stomach can cause some noticeable discomfort, so it’s still a good idea to use common sense when deciding when to swim after you eat. The good news is abdominal discomfort won’t likely increase your risk of drowning or result in a medical emergency if you swim too soon after eating. Instead, go by factors such as how you feel after you eat and how much you actually ate. That being said, it’s a good idea to wait until your food settles and your stomach calms down before swimming in the following situations:
• You had a heavy meal and you’re noticing some degree of stomach discomfort
• You plan to do swimming that’s more vigorous
• You have digestion issues that make exercise after eating inadvisable
If you don’t want to wait too long to get back in the water after eating, avoid heavy meals if you know you’ll be swimming later. For instance, opt for fruit and other foods with high amounts of simple carbohydrates, since such foods are typically easier to digest.
The chance to enjoy poolside barbecues, brunches, and bashes is one of the most appealing aspects of having a pool of your own. When you’re ready to build a swimming pool for your family, reach out to the experienced pros at San Diego Pools. We’re the experts in pool design San Diego homeowners have trusted for more than four decades. Give us a call today at 888-707-7786 to learn how we can help you create the perfect design with just the right features that make your pool the one you’ve always dreamed of.