Learning to swim not only teaches you a skill that could save your life, it also provides you with a method of non-impact aerobic exercise and a means of recreation. The most common swimming stroke is the front crawl, and once mastered, you will travel through the water with ease.
Familiarize yourself with the water. If you're not yet comfortable putting your head underwater, stand where the water is chest high and take a deep breath before bobbing under and gently humming, slowly releasing the air through your nose. Repeat this exercise until you are comfortable with the feeling.
Practice floating face first in the water, using a kickboard to hold your arms and torso up. Use your breathing method from Step 1, adjusting it so that your face is downward in the water during the exhale and turned to the side during the inhale. Only your head should move.
Hold onto your kickboard and propel yourself forward through the water with a flutter kick. By extending your legs straight behind you and keeping your body horizontal in the water, you can flutter your feet up and down, pushing yourself forward. Practice this technique until you can travel quickly on the surface of the water.
Stand on the side of the pool to practice the arm movement involved with the front crawl stroke. Bend at the hips and put both arms directly in front on you, creating a horizontal line from your hips to your fingertips.
Move one arm at a time in a forward windmill motion, circling down and back until it reaches hip level. At this point, rotate your arm and shoulder outwards and lift your arm up and over, returning it to the horizontal starting point. Practice turning your head as you did in Step 2, inhaling beneath one arm when it is directly above your head.
Reproduce the stroke in the water, combining it with the flutter kick you practiced earlier.