What to eat after swimming
Myth or Truth - Not Going to Swim After Eating?
Some popular wisdom and sayings revolve around the stomach. We should listen to our gut instincts, we can have butterflies in there and when our stomachs are full, they don't like to study. What about the often cited rule that you are not allowed to swim with a full stomach? At least an hour should be between the meal and the swim, say Mutti and the bathing rules. Even stomach cramps and drowning are sometimes warned. Is that true and if so, why?
Theory not supported by studies
No study has ever shown that swimming immediately after eating is said to have health consequences of any kind. On the contrary, an American study from 2011 even states that there is definitely no connection between eating before swimming and drowning.
What is more true is a certain reluctance on our part to even go into the water after a long meal. This is because the digestive process uses a lot of blood, which is drawn from other regions of the body. The professional association of paediatricians e.V. explains on its homepage why children should not go into the water immediately after eating. The lack of blood flow to the rest of the body could lead to circulatory problems, which can quickly become a problem, especially in water. In addition, children are not yet aware of the dangers and have too little experience to know that swimming doesn't actually feel great right after eating.
By the way, you shouldn't jump into cold water overheated, as this puts a lot of strain on the circulation. Before swimming, showering helps the body adapt to the water temperature.
Does swimming lead to stomach cramps after eating?
An American sports doctor tried to answer this question as early as 1961 and came to the conclusion that eating, swimming and stomach cramps are not related. Even high-performance athletes definitely have a hearty meal before jumping into the pool, but nobody has ever suffered from stomach cramps as a result.
An Australian study reports an increased incidence of side stitches from swimming, which decreases with age. However, whether and in what context the stitch is associated with eating and swimming is not explained in more detail.
According to the DLRG, the problem is that swimming transfers energy away from the digestive tract, as arms and legs require muscle strength. The food is no longer digested and you may feel sick. By the way, the same effect occurs with great stress and anxiety.
How long should I take a break after eating?
Now that we know that a serving of french fries won't let us drown, but our body still likes to have a break after eating, the question now arises as to how long it should be. Outdated bathing rules even once mentioned two hours, whereas today 30 minutes to 1 hour are often recommended. However, only your own body can tell you the exact time, because it depends on what and how much you have eaten and how long it takes your body to digest.
However, if you suffer from cardiovascular problems, you should really heed this rule, because the combination of digestion and swimming is too much stress, which in the worst case can lead to a collapse.
By the way, swimming on a completely empty stomach is just as unhealthy: it can happen that your body runs out of fuel, which leads to hypoglycaemia. The body then uses its supplies and the muscles burn sugar instead of fat because it does so faster. Typical symptoms of hypoglycaemia are dizziness, weakness, the eyes turning black, freezing and trembling.
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