46% of Americans are afraid of being in a pool with water that reaches above their heads. Knowing that almost half of the U.S. population has a fear of water shows that aquaphobia is more prevalent than one may think. In fact, competitive swimmer Adam Peaty, who is also an Olympic medalist, used to be afraid of water himself.
Maybe you have come to a point where you would like to finally overcome the fear. That in itself is a brave step forward!
Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed about diving into big activities. The road to overcoming aquaphobia begins with little bits of progress that build towards big results!
Start with Small Steps
Slow and steady wins the race. Get yourself started with these little goals for getting used to the water.
Do simple exercises in a swimming pool
The vast ocean is a much more intimidating place than the safe limits of a pool. Start by trying out a bit of wading in the pool. Don’t worry about water depth on your first try, just get used to the feeling of being in water.
Tip: For safety, always bring a friend or someone you know who knows how to swim to assist you. Also, encouraging company makes it easier to ease into the activity of swimming!
With the help of a friend or an expert, try different floating exercises, such as treading and floating on your back. Learning the basics gives you an assurance of control over your body while in the water. After you learn how to float, try out simple swimming exercises and proper breathing techniques.
Go on trips with friends
So, you have already practiced floating, swimming, and breathing in the pool and are a little more comfortable with the sensation of being in water. Now, it may be time to go and experience other bodies of water.
But don’t worry—it doesn’t have to mean immediately going into the sea. Instead, you and your friends can rent a boat for the day to watch the water from a safe distance first. With their support, you can try some group water sports that require a bit of interaction with water, such as kayaking and fishing!
Different ways of exposure to different bodies of water will familiarize you. Seeing the fun in these activities may also build your interest in more water sports and activities.
Get a trainer
In addition to casual experiences of being in the water, having a personal swimming coach is immensely beneficial to overcoming aquaphobia. A trainer has the expertise to guide you through the basics and onto more advanced techniques.
If you learn better in groups, there are some swimming schools that offer group lessons. This way, you can take classes with friends or family and encourage each other to keep learning. Learning with people you know and like being with is also less intimidating and more enjoyable, allowing you to see swimming as more than something to be afraid of.
Watch videos to practice
Practical training is the most important, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn some more in your spare time. By watching swimming videos, you find out some tips but also get to play and rewind parts as needed, which can supplement your lessons.
Even viewing vlogs of people enjoying swimming trips may be helpful! These let you shift your mindset from being focused on the fear to seeing how enriching and memorable the experience can be.
Why Learn How to Swim?
Despite the motivation to learn and overcome your fears, there will sometimes still be that little voice of doubt in your head: Why bother? Well, swimming is a great skill to learn for a number of reasons!
The simplest reason for learning how to swim is because it protects you from drowning. Having it as a skill gives you peace of mind whenever you are on vacation and even allows you to be of assistance to other people, such as children, who may need help when it comes to being in the water.
Secondly, swimming is a great form of exercise. It involves your whole body, which helps build strength, endurance, and even muscle. Swimming also strengthens the lungs through the many breathing exercises practiced in the activity.
Talk About It
It is difficult to overcome a fear that you don’t acknowledge. Admitting it makes it easier to ask for help and eventually take the steps to overcome it!
Aquaphobia isn’t shameful, nor is it uncommon. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to help you dive past this hurdle if you only ask!