by Geoff Williams, AARP Bulletin, July 31, 2008
MYTH: If you swim right after eating, you might get a cramp and drown.
FACTS: Contrary to what you may have been told, there’s little danger of getting a cramp because you swim after you eat, experts say.
The myth has some basis in science, says Moira Davenport, M.D., a specialist in emergency medicine and sports medicine and an attending physician at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh: “After you eat, more of your blood flow—20 to 25 percent—is diverted to the abdominal area to help with the digestive tract.” So exercising after eating does create competition for blood flow between the digestive organs and the muscles.
But if your meal and activity are light to moderate, then your body can provide sufficient blood to muscle and digestive systems, says Robert McMurray, a media spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine and a professor of exercise and sport science, nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“There is nothing special about water that causes a problem or stomach cramps,” he says. “Think about it like any sport. If you wanted to go for a walk after dinner, that is fine. So is getting into the pool and swimming around. But would you do a stressful running or high-impact aerobic workout right after dinner? Probably not—you might see the dinner again! The same is true for swimming.”
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Exclusive program for members from OptumRx.
Members get 10% off monthly fees, plus free installation and package savings on a safety monitoring system.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at