Olympic Star Dara Torres’ Secrets to Beat Aging

Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 09:47 AM

By Nick Tate

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Dara Torres is living proof that age is just a number. At the astonishing age of 45 she competed with athletes half her age for the chance to participate in a historic sixth Olympic Games last summer — narrowly missing out by finishing less than one-tenth of a second behind the front-runners.
 
Now, the 12-time Olympic medalist is turning her enthusiasm for sports, health, and wellness into a new career that helps others learn from her example to eat, exercise, and live like a champion — at any age. Her primary message: Working out and eating right must become a part of a person’s identity, she tells Newsmax Health.
 
“When I work out, I feel most like myself and most comfortable in my body and mind,” she says. “I feel motivated to continue to set new goals for myself and go after them and give them my all … Working out and staying in shape is simply how I take care of myself, and when I do this, everything else in my life falls into place.”

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That message, from her book Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program, not only informs the way Torres lives her own life, but it also is a prescription for healthy living for anyone.
 
Torres’ workout guidelines emphasize four key elements: stretching, strengthening, cardio training, and active recovery.
 
Stretching/strengthening: Although she has done Pilates, Torres has become a devotee of a form of resistance stretching known as Ki-Hara that builds strength and flexibility by working the body’s core muscles. Movements are modeled after how the body naturally moves. Ki-Hara usually involves working with a trainer, and you can get more information about it at Ki-Hara.com. 
 
Cardio training: The cardiovascular benefits of moderately intense exercise — 150 minutes per week, at a minimum — are well known. But cardiovascular health also has another benefit, Torres says. A fit body “craves healthy, clean foods and rejects sugary, starchy, processed foods that slow you down.” Torres favors biking or elliptical machines for cardio when she is not swimming.
 
Active recovery: One aspect of working out that Torres said gets too little attention: recovery. Let your body rest between workouts; allow your mind to stop thinking and just relax. If your body feels tired, don’t feel guilty about taking a day or two off and doing nothing physical. “The recovery part is big because the older you get the less hormones you have, and the less hormones you have the harder to is to recover,” she explains. Active recovery also means eating a balance of whole foods from all the food groups (complex carbs, lean protein and “good” fat, with plenty of fiber) and replacing fluids.
 
Torres explains that she does not follow a strict diet plan. She’s even been known to indulge her sweet tooth on occasion.
 
“I do watch my diet in the sense that, you know, everything’s in moderation,” she says. “But I don’t like to really to use the word diet, I just really try to eat well and satisfy cravings here and there.”
 
Beyond these strategies, Torres said it’s important to be mindful about exercise: setting goals, keeping a focus on why you’re working out, and making sure to mix things up to keep your mind and body challenged. And don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing, she advises.

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“Relax and have fun,” she says. “Practice and working out can be something you enjoy and look forward to, not just something you look forward to finishing.”
 
Torres says she will not try to compete for the 2016 U.S. Olympic swim team, but can’t envision a time when she won’t be working out.
 
“I love the way it makes me feel,” she says, “and I can’t imagine that will ever change.”
 
This article first appeared in Newsmax magazine. To read more, click here.
 
 

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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