How To Get Started Swimming For Fitness

Swimming is excellent exercise, but it can be difficult to take it on if you don't already have a background in it. Here's how to make your journey a little bit easier.

First, even if you don’t know how to swim at all, there’s still hope. Plenty of pools and organisations offer beginner classes for adults. (We followed two students in a class like this in our How to Learn to Swim as an Adult video.)

But maybe you know how to swim, and just need a little push to get started with your first aquatic workout.

I like to look for swimming workouts for triathletes. A triathlon involves swimming, biking, and running, so roughly a third of the people who train for one are new to the swimming part. These are folks who want to get a good workout and improve their basic skills, so they can be a less intimidating place to start than workouts written for swimmers. For example, here are three good beginner workouts that can keep you busy for your first week or until you get bored with them.

If you want something a bit more basic, look for videos of beginner drills. If you feel your legs are always sinking, and you’re flailing to keep afloat, search specifically for “balance drills.” They’ll help you learn to think about pressing the front of your body down to keep your legs up. That idea was a game changer for me when I was starting. Here’s one such drill:

Once you’ve watched a few videos, write a note to yourself about the drills you’d like to do, and zip that note into a plastic bag. (You will not be the only nerd at the pool with a baggie full of notes, I promise.) Try the drills, try a little swimming and playing in the water, and have fun!


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