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How long should I wait after eating before I swim?

Rosendo I. Collazo, DO
Internal Medicine
No one seems to know exactly how the classic parental myth to wait an hour after eating before even getting close to a pool, the lake or the beach got started. The myth seems to have surged in the 1950s and 1960s, when water-safety concerns were much more lax and there were fewer lifeguards watching out for swimmers in peril.It's true that blood flows to our stomachs to absorb nutrients after eating a big meal, but there is plenty of blood left over to deliver oxygen and remove waste products elsewhere in the body. This competing demand for blood does not cause cramps that can be dangerous for swimming. 

That said, it is widely recommended to wait at least two to three hours after a normal meal before engaging in exercise to allow food to run its course through the stomach. But this depends entirely on the individual and how much was eaten.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.