Here is one of those universally accepted myths that many people still firmly believe today. You’re having a nice lunch and you’ve been told that you have to wait at least half an hour before going swimming or taking a bath, but is it really like that? What makes this such a widespread belief?
There is no actual evidence that a swim after a nice meal will cause severe muscle cramps and the highly likely possibility of drowning. It is true that the digestive process will divert some of the blood to the stomach to help with digestion, but in no way this means that the swimmer’s limbs will lack the proper blood flow to function and, consequently, suffer from strong cramps and drown.
While there is a possibility of developing a cramp while swimming after eating – and we are talking about a full stomach -, a person swimming in a controlled area or a pool will still be able to safely exit the water. It may get you uncomfortable, just as it would with any other exercise, water or not, but won’t be enough to drown, as we have enough blood in our bodies to provide support to all of our parts after a meal. Of course, the heavier the meal, the more likely you are to get uncomfortable, but it is completely fine for the younger ones to go for a splash if they had a healthy meal and are just having a bit of fun in the water.
The most that could happen if you go swimming after eating is feeling uncomfortable, a sign that you should get out of the water and wait a while longer. On the other hand, alcohol is strictly forbidden, as it can be deadly. If you had a few beers and decided to jump into the pool right after, you are putting your life at stake, as alcohol causes the known coordination issues and slow reaction times, something that is by itself a death hazard. However, alcohol also increases the possibility of a vocal chord spasm if water enters the windpipe, locking the airway. Definitely stay away from the booze if you want to go swimming.