Ever heard of post-lunch drowning? Parents have been terrifying children with this for the longest time. There are a few theories supporting parents forbidding kids from swimming after having a meal. One theory says it originates from a need for parents to break from supervising their children. The one hour rule gives parents time to rest after lunch but frustrates children on the other hand. But is it really true?

Is It OK to Swim after Eating?

Parents always advise children to wait for at least 60 minutes after a meal before resuming swimming. Some parents claim that swimming immediately after eating can cause severe cramps that could lead to drowning. The truth is, there is no evidence to support this theory. The theory stands that the body directs blood to the stomach to aid digestion after a meal could explain the possibility of cramps. In fact, you could possibly experience cramps, but drowning is almost impossible. It is important to allow a child to relax after a meal before they go swimming. However, comfort after a meal is relative and will vary from one child to the other.

The myth around waiting after eating before you swim has been conventional wisdom for a while. The fact is that blood may rush to the stomach, but not enough to cause the muscles that are needed for swimming to lose energy. Unless a child is feeling lethargic after a heavy meal, they can go ahead and swim immediately after a snack or a light meal. Note that you may feel more gas pressure from stomach, coming out of your throat because of the water pressure.

Swimming is just like taking part in any other form of physical activity. To avoid upsetting the stomach, observe moderation. Would you engage in high impact exercise or sprints right after a meal? It is the same with swimming. You just need to control the level of intensity.

Alcohol Consumption Is What You Should Really Worry About

Swimming after eating should be of less concern compared to swimming after consuming alcohol, even if you just had a few shots of tequila, swimming is still not advisable. You may not feel any change after taking two alcoholic beverages, but that is enough to impair most adults. In 1989, 25 percent of adolescent deaths from drowning in Washington were associated with alcohol. 41 percent of adults that drowned in California in 1990 were under the influence. Steer clear of alcohol if you intend to jump in the pool.

What to Eat Before Swimming Laps

Are you engaging in a swimming competition or just doing it for fitness? These are factors to consider when deciding on what to eat before swimming. Competitive swimmers should consume foods that release energy progressively. Such foods keep them going throughout the race. An easy-to-digest meal is fine for someone swimming to keep fit.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are a great source of energy. A low amount of carbs consumed before swimming ensures a slow release of energy as you swim and will keep you going for longer. To prevent bloating, eat up to an hour before swimming.


Wholemeal rice and pasta taken in small portions will offer a range of carbohydrates that will boost your concentration as you swim.


Take a drink before and during the swimming session to keep yourself hydrated.


You can never go wrong with a banana. It is the perfect quick pre-practice snack that provides approximately 30 grams of carbs and plenty of potassium. You can throw in some peanut butter for additional protein and yumminess.


Not only are smoothies delicious, they’re also a great way to fuel up before getting into the pool. They’re easily digestible and contain lots of vitamin C and calcium. They’re the perfect meal if you find it hard holding down solid food whenever you go for a swim.


Bagels are the perfect fuel for a swimmer. You can have them for breakfast just before you start your swimming session. The complex carbohydrates in the bagel will provide you with the much needed energy to push you for hours.


All the above foods are great for swimmers and other athletes. However, you should only eat what works for you since everybody is different. While a bagel or a banana might work for your friend and enable them to swim for hours on end, it might not work for you. Develop a plan that’s tailor made to your needs. If you simply can’t stand eating before going for a swim steer clear of any foods a few hours prior to your swim.


Should you eat before a morning swim? Yes, especially if you intend to have a long and high intensity session. High intensity physical workout requires carbohydrates. Training on an empty stomach will make you tire quickly. However, many competitive and recreational swimmers avoid swimming after eating as they experience reflux and nausea.


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