Health and Fitness

After Swimming, Why Do I Feel Bloated?

Not all bloated feelings come from food! If you’ve ever swum laps and felt the pangs of the bloat shortly after, you may have wondered why your body reacted that way to swimming, and if there was anything you could do about it. Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize the bloating feeling after swimming! Here’s why you feel bloated after swimming and how to deal with it if it happens to you.


Feeling Bloated When Exercising

Exercise can make you feel better about yourself by boosting your energy levels and improving your fitness. Exercising can even help improve your mood and relieve stress, but it’s important to be able to distinguish between good and bad feelings that exercise causes. Feeling bloated is one of those things that happens when you do something that doesn’t feel very good. If you take a look at how you feel after swimming, for example, you might notice feeling bloated is one of those common side effects of exercising in water.


Feeling Full from Exercise

If you’re a swimmer who also eats a healthy diet and exercises regularly, you may be confused as to why you still feel bloated after swimming. While some amount of exercise-related bloating is normal—just think about how large your lungs get from running—there are some factors that can contribute to an increased feeling of fullness after exercising. In some cases, there could be health conditions at play—such as an underactive thyroid gland or celiac disease—that would require further attention. However, in many cases there are relatively simple fixes for post-swim bloat that can help you feel more comfortable in your skin when exercising regularly. The next time you step out of the pool feeling particularly puffy, consider these possible solutions.


Symptoms of Dehydration

The most common symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, thirst and dry mouth. Since these symptoms can easily be attributed to something else (like eating too much or eating too little), it’s important to look for other telltale signs that you need to rehydrate. Unexplained muscle cramps might mean you need water. Headaches after exercise could be your body telling you that you need water. Constipation may indicate that your body needs hydration.


Tips to Avoid Dehydration

If you feel bloated after swimming, you may be dehydrated. To avoid dehydration from exercise or physical exertion: Drink at least 12-16 ounces of water 1 hour before physical activity. During physical activity, drink 5-7 oz of water every 15 minutes. Sip frequently enough so that your urine is clear and colorless. Drink a glass of water within 15 minutes after stopping your workout or physical exertion.



If you feel bloated after swimming, don’t panic. But also don’t automatically assume you have an allergy or your stomach is upset. It may just be a consequence of your recent activity—water can have a mild constricting effect on some people. Although not entirely comfortable at first, swelling from water absorption will eventually go away. In more serious cases of stomach bloating after swimming, a visit to your doctor is in order to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might require treatment and/or medication. If you have noticeable discomfort or pain that doesn’t seem to go away on its own over a day or two after going for a swim, consult with your physician immediately.

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