Mom always said, “You can’t go swimming for thirty minutes after you eat or you’ll drown!” As children, we listened to our moms and stayed out of the water. We never questioned, “How will swimming after a meal make you drown?”

As adults, traditional wisdom, is that you don’t swim for an hour after a meal because you could develop cramps. If you cramp up, there is a chance you could (potentially) drown, but then you shouldn’t swim alone so you’d have someone nearby to help you. The “no swimming for thirty minutes or an hour” is a myth that continues with many families — of course it would, one mother passes it to the next mother, who passes it to her children and the cycle continues.

Stay Out Of The Pool After Thanksgiving Dinner: Myth Or Wive’s Tale?

In 1908, an article published by Scouting for Boys found there was a slight chance of developing cramps within an hour of eating (while your food was digesting) If you’re prone to cramps after eating, and some people are, then you would want to avoid swimming until your food has digested. If, however, you don’t suffer any stomach issues after eating a meal, chances are you will be safe in the pool. In fact, swimming after a meal just might speed up your metabolism and help your body better utilize the food you’ve just eaten.

Remember, though it’s important to never swim alone!


The science behind “cramping after eating” is that when youve eaten a meal, your heart is pumping additional blood to your stomach to help with digestion. This “diversion” of blood to your stomach and away from the rest of your body MIGHT lead to cramping. The idea that stomach cramps in the water after swimming is considered a myth in the fact that it’s unlikely you’d be doubled over in pain from it.

Cramps can occur anytime you overexert your muscles. This could happen if you swim vigorously or if you’re jogging or working out at the gym — it’s not necessarily that the water has anything to do with it.

 What’s a parent to do when the kids want to be in the water right after Thanksgiving dinner?

Just as you’d always keep a watchful eye on your children when they’re in the pool — no matter if they’ve just eaten or not — continue that practice. Adults should also not swim alone in case there is any medical emergency that arises and would cause them to need your help.

Thanksgiving around the swimming pool can be a wonderful new tradition you and your family can start. If you live in an area of the country where the chill has settled in, invest in fire features or heaters and blankets to keep everyone warm and cozy. If your guests decide to use the hot tub or jump into your heated pool, keep a watchful eye on everyone and enjoy your new tradition!