Is it Safe to Swim on a Full Stomach?

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Photo from Clear Choice Pool

Nicole Kell

As summer rolls around, many of us have been warned about not swimming immediately after eating. This is based on the idea that blood will divert from the arms and legs and flow toward the digestive tract after consuming a large meal. We are told that  our stomach might cramp and we might drown. One might also hear that the limbs might not be supplied with enough blood flow to function. For most children, taking a break from swimming after a big lunch can feel like an eternity.

There are so many people who are concerned about the risks of swimming after eating that the American Red Cross presented a scientific advisory statement in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education that stated, “currently available information suggests that eating before swimming is not a contributing risk for drowning and can be dismissed as a myth.” Our bodies have enough blood to keep all of our body parts going after eating a large meal. This is exciting news for children who love the pool, lake, beach etc. They don’t have to listen to their parent’s advice… just this once. Saved by science.

One thought on “Is it Safe to Swim on a Full Stomach?”

  1. Hi, this is very interesting, of course I was also been told to wait at least 2 hours before pool or beach and the warning, that I know it’s not as much about arms and legs not getting enough bloodflow to digest and for the movement needed to swim at once, but more about stomach not getting enough blood to balance the temperature drop and digest at that same time which would lead me to feel like gagging, so more about the cold temperature, which is strangely not mentioned in the articles, which I think are integrating part of the alleged me.
    So it might be overstated and exagerated, especially with the summer temperature, where the water isn’t really cold.
    So might it be about gagging stimuli by stomach congestion induced by a combination of excessively cold water and sudden drop of temperature?
    I found I had no problem though, doing that in the summer sea, by intruducing myself gradually in the water.
    Of couse, in youtube, the one and only comment states this
    “Why we can’t protect our children from stuff”, as if the scientist elite is trying the deprive people of common sense, challenge intuitive truths in a ploy to dominate us lol.

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