If you are not a big fan of the gym but looking for a good workout, you should definitely consider trying out swimming instead. It might be a bit more difficult to adapt than other sports because we are more used to moving on land, it is still worth it.
This is because swimming offers you a full-body workout that you can do the whole year round. Not only does it help improve your cardiovascular fitness, you can also strengthen your muscles. If you do it regularly enough, you can already see progress after a month.
However, it is not as easy as just jumping into the pool. You would need good form to really get a workout. If you do not feel confident about your stroke or have never really learned any, it is best to go work with an instructor or join some classes. Otherwise, you have enough skills to independently start swimming for fitness.
A good first start is the freestyle stroke. Do as many laps as you can for around 20 minutes. It might not feel like a lot, but at the beginning, your body will be shocked at the exercise. So take as many breaks as you need, then continue. The resistance from the water will be tiring, but do not worry. As you continue, you will find yourself making those laps more easily and quickly.
You can also make use of some tools available at your pool. For example, kickboards are great for working out your legs and resting your arms. There are even swimming snorkels that allow you to breathe without worrying about moving your head regularly.
Do not hesitate to take it easy in the beginning. Try to do 10 workouts in the first 3 weeks to start getting used to swimming. Afterward, you can really start doing the full workout.
A Proper Workout
Start by doing a warm up, which means swimming for 10 minutes, increasing intensity and speed as you go. Once you are ready, you can go do your laps. Your pool either has 25 or 50 meters, make sure to find out beforehand to understand how many you should do. A good target is to do 100 meters at a time, resting 20 seconds in between. Aim to do this 15 times. Keep up with swimming around 3 times a week.
The secret to making it is to not kick too hard. This is a common misconception, that your legs are responsible for making you faster. However, it does not really propel you that much in the water, instead, it uses up a lot of your energy and makes your heart race. Instead, you need to use your upper body to do the work of moving you forward, and you need to kick just enough to keep your legs up in the water. Invest in good swim gear like goggles, nosepiece or swimming cap to help you perform at your optimum level.
If you just love the water and find swimming a great activity for you, then do not hesitate to go and take that annual membership at the closest pool. Try to join a swim club or performance swimming clinic to help you stay motivated. Soon enough, you will not just be hooked, but you will also be in the best shape possible.