How long do you have to wait, after you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast with friends and family before you can jump into the swimming pool? Traditional wisdom — as shared by your parents when you were growing up — is that you couldn’t go into the water for an hour after you’ve eaten your dinner. Is that still true? Let’s explore the facts and myths surrounding swimming after eating. Rumor had it, if you didn’t wait an hour after eating before swimming, you’d cramp up.

Swimming After You Eat Your Thanksgiving Dinner: Myth or Fact

give-thanks-signsAccording to an article published in Scouting for Boys in 1908, there WAS a danger of getting cramps, but if you take a bath within an hour of eating – aka before your food is digested – you were likely to get a cramp. If you’re in a swimming pool and cramp up, you will double over, and if the pain is extreme you may not be able to move your arms or legs and could likely drown.

The science behind that though, is when you eat, your heart pumps blood to your stomach to help you digest the meal. If you’re swimming the blood will need to flow to your muscles and this could pull it away from your stomach (which is still digesting your meal) and then yo could apparently develop stomach cramps. The changes that they would be so severe that you would double over in pain, however, may be a myth.

You could get cramps from overexertion of your muscles if you swim too vigorously — whether you’ve just eaten or not.

What’s a parent to do? Keep a watchful eye on the children in the pool. Whether they’ve just eaten or not, you always need to watch the children to assure they are safe and protected at all time.

When you’re having Thanksgiving around the swimming pool, make sure there is an adult present at all times watching the chidlren and the adults as well. Here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!