There are plenty of reasons to be afraid of the water. Maybe you've had a scary experience during childhood or no one in your family knew how to swim. It could even be that you don't like the idea of not knowing what lurks beneath the surface. Whatever the cause, you're not alone. People of all ages who live across the country from San Diego to New York City struggle with the idea of getting in the water. One woman told Elle Magazine that peers in her adult swim class ranged from ages 20 to 60 – many of them feared the water. Despite the fear, they were able to come together to face it. Appropriate guidance can help this group enter the water and even try out swimming. Here are 3 steps to get yourself and your water-weary friends to splash around.

  1. Be one with the water: Many people fear the unknown. This means that you or your friends might not be jumping in because you don't know much about what lies ahead in the depths of a pool. To get over this initial hump, you'll have to get to know the pool. Don't worry, it's not time to get in yet – just saying hello. Using a pool or another body of water,  put your feet in, splash some water on your face and even try to hold your breath in the water, suggested Enjoy Swim. Cup your hands and bring a little puddle of water to your mouth and nose to practice. 
  2. Start in the shallow end: Since fear is subjective, that first step could take you a few minutes or years depending on your personal level of comfort. There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to conquering something you're afraid of. But when you're ready, you can head to the ladder of the pool and climb into the shallow end. It's advised that you have a lifeguard or a friend watch over you because although you'll be able to stand, you might get nervous and need a hand getting out. When you're in the water, try walking from one side of the pool to the other. Hang out in the shallow end as much as you'd like – even enjoy it with friends by playing games. 
  3. Explore down under: Once you've managed to get comfortable in the shallow end, the next step is putting your head underwater. Introduce different parts of your head to the water at a time before a complete dunk, suggested Enjoy Swimming. Tilt your head back and put your hair in. Turn your head to each side and place your ears in the water. Now try to put your mouth and the nose in there. When you feel like you're ready to hold your breath, put your head completely into the swimming pool.

Training yourself to get underwater can be half the battle. Once you've done these steps, commend yourself or your friend and then you can check out swimming lessons and learn more ways to play in the pool.