You have to wait an hour or half an hour before you go into the water – everyone knows this rule. We explain whether this swimming break is really necessary.

Summer time is bath time. But especially with children, the joy is quickly spoiled when they are not allowed to go back into the cool water after the obligatory fries at the outdoor pool. The parents forbid it. Because: “You shouldn’t go swimming on a full stomach.” Everyone has probably heard this sentence before. But is this bathing rule really true?

The German Life Saving Society (DLRG) advises against swimming with a full stomach. The reason: If we have eaten a lot, the body needs a lot of energy to digest the food. “The blood is increasingly directed into the digestive tract, at the expense of the muscles and brain. We often feel this through a certain sluggishness,” says Martin Holzhause, spokesman for the DLRG. Physical exertion during this phase can lead to nausea or vomiting.

Full stomach – no real danger when swimming

However, eating directly before swimming does not pose a real danger. An overview analysis by the US Red Cross comes to the conclusion: A full stomach does not have a life-threatening effect on swimmers. The analysis also looks at tests from the 1960s that found no impact on strength or swimming performance from a full stomach in swimmers.

Eating a greasy meal just before jumping in the water is still not the best idea. Nor would it probably occur to anyone to run a marathon right after Christmas dinner. If you wait a little longer before jumping into the cool water, you will enjoy swimming more: Under certain circumstances, a full stomach in the water feels even fuller – or the water presses a little on your stomach.

The DLRG expert advises never to go swimming on an empty stomach. “The body may lack the energy for movement,” says Martin Holzhause. If you crawl at high speed, you burn a total of 640 calories per hour – that’s about the equivalent of a doner kebab with lamb and lots of sauce.

Sources: Red Cross study, Techniker Krankenkasse, Fit for Fun