Swimmer Dara Torres has set records with her performances in the pool, but she is also setting a new standard for aging well. Torres was the first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympics and at the age of 41 became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics. In 2012, at the age of 45 she missed a spot on the US Olympic swimming team by a fraction of a second. So how does the 46 year-old mom follow up this amazing career as an athlete? By aging well and creating a healthy life balance.
I sat down to talk to Torres at a spinning class that she taught at The Shed Fitness Studio in Uptown. She was in town to promote Koss Fit Series headphones that she helped create. The colorful FitClips and FitBuds are designed by women for women and are 33% smaller to fit comfortably in a woman’s ear.
New Attitude, New Workouts, New Diet
Torres still works out almost every day, but she is clear that her attitude about exercise has changed. ““I used to train as my job and now I’m just training for life, so I’ve set a different standard for myself.” For Dara, this means that she exercises to “get a good sweat” but she doesn’t obsess about her performance . She likes to do cardio workouts, like spinning, and prefers aerobic workouts to lifting weights at the gym.
Torres’ eating habits have changed as well. Since she doesn’t spend hours exercising, she isn’t as hungry anymore. So, naturally, she eats less. But I asked her if she counts calories or does anything special to maintain her world-famous swimmer’s body. She said no. “My body is always changing,” she says and explains that she is comfortable with the natural changes that happen with age.
Staying Motivated to Exercise
So now that there is no medal at stake, how does this Olympian stay motivated to exercise? She says that listening to music is important. “I’ve listened to music during my workouts ever since I was in my teens and now it’s a necessary part of my routine.”
Torres is also inspired by her daughter and two “inherited” teens. She says that being a mom changes your perspective. At her last Olympic Games, for example, she says she didn’t feel as much pressure as some of the younger competitors. “For them, this was going to be the most important thing that they’ve ever done. But I had a two year-old to go home to.”
It’s clear that the healthy balance that Dara Torres has created for herself is paying off. She is relaxed and confident but still looks exceptionally lean and fit. It’s a good lesson for anyone who wants to age well; find what matters and let go of the rest to gain perspective and live a healthy life.
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