As kids, we were prone to having Charlie Brown's teacher moments. Our parents would tell us not to swim after eating, or to at least wait an hour, and that suggestion would go in one ear and out the other. At least for me. But were they right? The sun's beaming down, the tunes are blaring, and all you want to do is jump in the pool already. So, for a final clarification, how long should you wait to swim after eating?

The Original Myth

Just like Marlin, most adults growing up were wary of us jumping into the pool immediately after lunch. And the old warning went that you should not swim on a full stomach and should wait up to 30 minutes or even an hour before splashing around in the pool. This is because blood rushes to your stomach after eating to facilitate digestion and away from muscles needed in order to swim. So if you ended up swimming too soon, the food in your stomach would give you cramps and increase your chances of drowning. Not to sound too dire or anything. 

The Truth

You see this lovely swimming pool, looking so inviting and ready to hop into? The question of how long should you wait to swim after eating is as annoying as a fly buzzing in your ear when you want to dive in already. Well, lo and behold, that whole waiting 30 minutes to an hour thing is bogus. You can go in a lot sooner than you've been led to believe. Blood does rush to your stomach to help with digestion, but not enough that it will make your muscles lose energy or inhibit your ability to swim laps.  

Cramps and Stomach Pain?

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Hana Brannigan

And all that mumbo-jumbo about drowning due to a full stomach is nonsense. The chances of that happening are about as slim as a GoT spoiler being leaked for the upcoming season. I mean, if you swim vigorously on a full stomach, you'll be more likely to feel pain in your stomach and get nauseous. But drowning deaths in the U.S. caused by swimming on a full stomach account for less than one percent.

Moderation is the Answer

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Bernard Wen

Just like healthy eating, it's all about moderation. If you so desire to get in the pool right after eating a cheeseburger at your summer BBQ, maybe refrain from swimming freestyle straight away. To avoid the potential of an upset stomach, try swimming at a low to moderate level of intensity first. There's nothing wrong with swimming after eating, as long as you swim at a pace that isn't too extreme.

Alcohol is the Real Problem

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Melissa Miller

You should be worrying more about consuming alcohol before swimming than food. According to The New York Times, a 1989 study reported that out of almost 100 adolescents who drowned in Washington, 25 percent had been intoxicated. Similarly, in 1990, a study of hundreds of drowning deaths in California found that 41 percent were alcohol-related.

So, how long should wait to swim after eating? However long you wish! If you want to eat a hot dog then wade in the pool, by all means. If you want to take a nap first after your big lunch, that works, too. As long as you swim moderately and don't drink alcohol beforehand. Definitely not the wisest move.