A young girl taking a break in a swimming pool...

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We had just finished a light lunch. The young mother, whose daughter is friends with my granddaughter, said, “How come we never have to wait after eating to go swimming anymore?”

Good question.

How many hours did you spend waiting impatiently the 30 minutes to an hour that used to be required by all responsible parents before children were allowed back in the pool?

When did this requirement stop being enforced?

Apparently, after at least one survey of deaths by drowning, the myth we were brought up with regarding cramping because of blood flow being diverted by digestion is not supported by evidence of eating and cramps as a cause of drowning.

The premise relating eating, blood flow and cramps was questioned by an exercise physiologist as early as 1961 and more recently by an exercise physiologist at Duke Diet and Fitness Center.

The belief was common in the 1960s, but still being promoted in the early 1990s.

That does not mean you should eat a heavy meal and jump in the pool.

Heavy exercise after a heavy meal is still not recommended and, if a child is lethargic after eating, should wait to go swimming.

But, if a cramp should occur, a swimmer could float on their back or side while working the cramp out or moving toward the side of the pool. It should not so debilitating that they would drown.

It does mean that eating lightly and swimming lazily afterwards should not cause cramps.

And, maybe that is why parents kept children out of the pool.

Swimming lazily may be even harder to enforce.

To you and swimming safely with your grandchildren.

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Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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