Swimming. . . . once the bane of my existence has become something I somewhat enjoy. (And may really enjoy once I get more confident in my ability.)
Why should you try it? For one thing, swimming is one of the best exercises for burning calories and firming your muscles without stressing your joints. An easy swim burns 500 calories an hour while a strenuous swim will burn almost 700. (More than running!) Water also provides a resistance workout for your whole body. This means you will build lean tissue and muscle, which also helps you burn fat because each pound of muscle burns between 40 and 50 calories a day.
Proper form isn't something that comes naturally. (You want me to keep half my forehead and one eye in the water at all times? How will I breathe??) But with the drills below there's no need to worry about form or breathing. Just concentrate on getting your heart rate up and burning calories!
Your community pool should have kick-boards available for you to use. Grab a kick-board and kick the length of the pool (25 yards) four times. This is much harder than it looks and will get your heart rate way up.
Your pool should also have buoys. Tuck a buoy in between your thighs to keep your lower body afloat. Non swimmers should use a snorkel and mask (this can be purchased at a sporting goods store) in order to breathe easily. Using a freestyle stroke swim four laps.
Remove the buoy from between your legs but keep the mask and snorkel on. Swim four laps.
Remove the snorkel and mask and backstroke 2 laps. If you have trouble swimming in a straight line begin with one shoulder up against the lane line. Circle the arm closest to the lane line over your head and into the water. Right before it leaves the water (as the other arm is beginning to circle) feel for the lane line with the palm of your hand.