Exercise may seem like a bottom-of-the-list choice in the heat and humidity of summer, but no matter what the season, it’s good for you. More and more studies show that exercise is good not just for the body, but for the brain and the psyche as well. Better fitness, better sleep, and plain old feeling better are just a few of the benefits exercise offers.

Don’t believe us? Still not excited to get out there and sweat your stuff? Then get some inspiration from Lisa Batey, Lisa Miyasugi, Alisa DiCaprio and Aleisha Riboldi, the four open water swimmers Metropolis spoke to about their sport, and head toward fitness!

Lisa Batey, a massage therapist at a Tokyo gym, advises people searching for a way to get started to remember something from their childhood that they liked to do or just try something new. The point, she says, is to make sure you enjoy it.

“I think people get hung up on the latest fads in exercise, whether it be running or circuit training or intervals. I hear it all the time: ‘I’m trying to get fit, but I hate running.’ Then don’t run! Play tennis, try ballet, salsa, martial arts, or a spin class! Find a social group associated with exercise if solo workouts are boring. Athletics are not limited to running and the gym.”

Alisa DiCaprio agrees that the focus needs to be on simply getting out there and getting going, but she also adds that triathlons or other kinds of races can give people a goal that is motivating in itself.

“Stop talking about it and sign up,” DiCaprio says. “You need a reason to train, so sign up. Then you have a target. Without that, just talking about a triathlon is never going to make it happen.”

When it comes to swimming, though, Lisa Miyasugi, a former Olympic contender now turned coach, understands that people hesitate for a variety of reasons. She runs regular training sessions for triathletes as well as children and adults who want to get wet but aren’t sure where to begin. She emphasizes the naturalness of the sport and offers to come along.

“Don’t be scared,” she says. “Swimming is a natural human instinct. Everyone and anyone can swim. I will get in the pool with you.”

Aleisha Riboldi emphasizes patience with the process, although she also agrees that getting out there and getting started is the only way exercise (or anything else) is going to happen.

“Be brave and just do,” she says. “It’s totally ok to take baby steps. I didn’t just wake up one morning able to swim 10km. My first open water swim race in Japan was actually only an 800m race even though I knew I was capable of swimming more in the pool. I just wanted to test the waters.”

Ready to start testing the waters? Check out this list of local pools and this list of rec leagues to get started.