Published: Jan. 8, 2010
Updated: Apr. 22, 2010
You probably recall your mother’s emphatic warning to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before getting back in the pool. Apparently, mother does not know best when it comes to swimming after eating.
The common belief that the blood going to your digestive tract after eating steals the blood needed to keep your arms and legs pumping during swimming is unfounded, says Gerald Endress, exercise physiologist and director of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center.
According to Endress, the body does supply extra blood to aid in digestion, but not enough blood to keep your arm and leg muscles from properly functioning. Your biggest danger related to eating and swimming is probably a minor cramp.
Even though this particular example is a myth, the relationship between eating and exercise is important. Knowing when and what to eat can make a difference in how many calories you burn and how effective your workout is.
Elisabetta Politi, RD, nutrition director at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, gives some tips for how to effectively combine eating and exercise: