Lo so che la stagione non è quella giusta: a parte pochi matti scatenati al sud, nessuno si sognerebbe di indossare un costume e fare un tuffo nella località balneare più vicina. Ma l’altro giorno, non so come, non so perché, con la moglie siamo finiti a parlare della famosa “leggenda metropolitana” secondo cui sarebbe molto pericoloso fare il bagno dopo mangiato. I veri ortodossi (ed io ne conosco alcuni) non osano neppure farsi la doccia dopo pranzo o dopo cena, sempre per via di questa diceria molto diffusa in Italia (ma non qui in America). Allora mi sono messo alla ricerca di maggiori informazioni in rete, ed ho trovato un interessante articolo in inglese. Che quindi ti propongo come lezione di oggi per il mio corso d’inglese.
Perhaps most of us can remember waiting an hour, half an hour or at least twenty minutes after having had lunch before we could get back into the swimming pool. In Cuba, children are told they must wait three hours to swim after eating. Parents and grandparents might explain the wait to swim after eating by regaling children with tales of how cramps could occur, causing drowning. Of course, water safety is of utmost important for all swimmers, but it’s unlikely that if you swim after eating, especially if you don’t swim very vigorously, that mysterious cramps will cause your demise.
The basic premise behind this caution is that food digestion requires greater blood flow to the stomach. Yet, exercise at the same time requires greater blood flow to the arms and legs. This may deprive the stomach of a certain amount of oxygen, causing a muscle cramp, sometimes called a stitch, to occur. Most doctors suggest that these cramps are mild, and provided a swimmer doesn’t freak out in the water, some floating will help minimize any cramping, if it even occurs. Eating a huge meal and then swimming a triathlon is definitely not recommended because of the amount of blood supply needed for the arms and legs, and it could result in cramping and vomiting, but is very unlikely to result in drowning.
A better caution would be to recommend people don’t vigorously swim after eating. But cavorting in water or swimming a little bit is unlikely to increase possibility of drowning. This is an urban legend or old wives tale that a number of mythbuster groups like Snopes have debunked thoroughly. In particular, Snopes’ research on this matter argues that there has never been an instance of drowning attributed to eating shortly beforehand.
Another myth similar to the idea that you should not swim after eating is that you also should not have a bath after eating. This will cause, according to some, poor digestion of food or possible drowning. One suggestion for the origin of this second myth is that eating slightly raises body temperature. If you take a really hot bath you might overheat and faint. Another is that bathing after eating could cause slight cramping of the stomach because some bloodflow gets diverted to the skin’s surface while you bathe.