Health and Fitness

Ten Ways Swimming Causes Flatulence

As swimmers, we’re familiar with the effects that chlorine and pools can have on our hair and skin, but how often do we think about the effects of those chemicals on our flatulence? If you’re worried about finding new ways to burp, here are ten ways swimming can cause flatulence.


1) Ingest Air While Exhaling

When swimming, your body naturally wants to push air out of your lungs while exhaling. However, while swimming laps, you want to keep your head in a neutral position so that you are properly breathing through your nose. If you have trouble doing so, there are several different techniques that can help reduce flatulence caused by swallowing excess air. To practice exhalation without swallowing excess air, lay on your back in a pool with only your head above water. Exhale completely and gently lower yourself into an inhale position to take another breath through your nose. Continue practicing until you get comfortable holding down an exhale without any excess air moving into or out of your lungs.


2) Ingest Air When Hyperventilating Before a Race

Some competitive swimmers purposely hyperventilate before a race. That is, they breathe rapidly and deep to load extra oxygen into their bloodstream. This practice has been linked to feelings of lightheadedness, giddiness, and even hyperventilation syndrome. If you have a history of fainting or feel uncomfortable with prolonged breath-holding underwater, ask your doctor whether hyperventilation is right for you.


3) Ingest Air While Lunging

It’s common to take a deep breath before you start swimming, but it’s important to exhale as you plunge into your first lap. Many people don’t realize that every time they lunge forward and go underwater, they also ingest air.


4) Ingest Air from Being Overly Hydrated

Swallowing water isn’t uncommon while swimming, but you may not know that it can lead to flatulence. It’s common for people to swallow extra air when they eat before diving into a pool, but because water is heavier than air, you’ll inevitably ingest some of it too. This process adds an extra burst of air to your stomach, which means more gas will be produced during digestion. The result? A far-less-than-appealing odor.


5) Ingest Air from Swallowing Water While Eating During Diving

Yes, eating and diving at any time is a bad idea—but it’s even worse if you haven’t already eaten or haven’t had anything to drink for at least an hour. If you dive on an empty stomach and swallow water during your swim, there’s a good chance that some of that water will remain in your esophagus as it enters your stomach. As you continue to consume water, more air will likely be ingested as well.


6) Ingest Air from Bubbles Trapped Under Goggles

Waterproof swim goggles can get covered in tiny air bubbles. If you wear them, these bubbles get trapped and aren’t released when you take off your goggles. When you go to breathe, these trapped pockets of air will expand, causing you to ingest extra air and (potentially) flatulence. One way to avoid this is by using anti-fog solutions that will help prevent tiny pockets of air from forming between your face and goggles in the first place.


7) Ingest Air from Holding Breath While Swimming

Holding your breath while swimming can result in ingesting a lot of air. This leads to burping and flatulence when you come up for air. If you want to avoid swallowing too much water, try exhaling some air before going underwater or learn a new swimming stroke that will require less lung capacity.


8) Relax, Don’t Hold Your Breath!

A lot of swimmers make an unconscious mistake while swimming: they don’t breathe. Don’t do that! Holding your breath while swimming can cause you to ingest extra air. If you want to swim better, relax—and just swim flatulence-free!

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