Summer is an ideal time to say hello to swimming again. You can cool off during the warm summer days and you get a full-body workout, to boot. This low-impact activity uses all the major muscle groups -- shoulders, back, core, glutes and legs -- without the pounding effects of a high-impact sport like running. It provides both a strength and cardio workout, improves flexibility and puts minimal stress on joints, especially the knees and hips. It also helps relax stiff muscles and encourages you to take control of your breathing -- both of which can help ease stress. Another bonus: Swimming for one hour burns the same amount of calories as running on the treadmill at a 10-minute per mile pace for an hour.
Use this six-week guide to learn the foundations of swimming freestyle (the most common stroke) and how to comfortably stroke your way to a swimmer’s body if you commit to swimming two to three times a week.