Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why shouldn't we eat after Swimming?



There are different kinds of versions in regard to eating after a swimming exercise. Is it harmful to eat after swimming ? In such a case what is the right time to eat once the swimming workout is over ?

What happens when one swims after having food ?
The physicians and trainers used to advise the learners not to consume any food immediately before swimming or after swimming. The minimum waiting period for getting into the pool after a meal is at least 30 minutes.
The following are some reasons put forth by the experts in the field:
·         Once we get into the pool right after eating, we could develop cramps and risk drowning because the body works to take care of its energy needs and that conflicting needs can cause certain problems
·         During the course of exercise, the sympathetic nervous system, a part of the automatic or autonomic nervous system consisting of brain, stem and spinal cord stimulates the nerves to the heart and blood vessels.
·         The above nervous stimulation causes the blood vessels consisting of arteries and veins to contract or constrict – the process called vasoconstriction increasing the resistance of the blood vessels in the tissues and reducing  blood flow to those tissues
·         The working muscles also receive the command from the brain, however, the metabolic byproducts produced within the muscle override the commands and cause vasodilatation.
What are the side effects of swimming after food ?
The following are some side effects by attempting  swimming immediately after having a food:
·         Once the food is consumed the stomach needs sufficient energy  to get the food digested  and normally the bowel takes a minimum of thirty to sixty minutes to digest the food and thereafter it sends the digested food to the intestines for further processing
·         Under the above situations, when an exercise like swimming is undertaken, the parts of the body viz., hands, legs, stomach, shoulders, head etc are getting the message to boost the blood flow and the blood that would have gone to some of the organs especially the bowel will start proceeding to the above parts to provide required energy.
·         Because the blood flow is restricted or almost blocked to the innermost parts of the stomach, the process of digestion is hampered and the stomach muscles start creating cramps and pains resulting in un digestion of the food inside the stomach.
How long one should wait after eating a meal ?
There are some pressing circumstances or situations during which time, a learner or a participant may need to go in for swimming after having his food.
This depends upon the following factors:
·         The time gap between the meal and the exercise
·          The quantum of food consumed by the person.
·         The part of the day during which time the exercise is undertaken
1.    As we had seen earlier, the safest time to go in for swimming after having a meal is 30 minutes and more. However, if a person feels, that he had consumed only very little food required for undertaking a swimming exercise, it is recommended  that there is no harm in going for swimming subject to the  kind of food consumed. by the person.
2.    The bigger/heavier the meal, the longer the person needs to wait. In case of light foods like snacks,   a juice, half a bagel or a few low-fat crackers, he can go almost immediately.
3.    If a person wants to have his exercise as the first thing in the morning, a small amount of fruit juice and water is sufficient because the energy need during the morning time is very low. If he wants to do the exercise mid morning then a breakfast high in carbohydrates will provide him enough energy. If it is late morning but before lunch, a little snacks before working out and a lunch rich in carbohydrates and protein is a must after the work out. However, after the lunch but before t late evening, an empty stomach is better
Eating before or after the workout wholly depends upon the time gap and energy level of the person concerned and no strict guidelines can be specified in this regard.



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