The twelve-time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres is one of the country’s top female swimmers. She is even tied with Jenny Thompson for the most medals ever won by a female US swimmer. But that isn’t enough for her. At 45 years old, Torres attempted to make her sixth Olympic team-and get the chance to end her career on top. While her performance at the 2012 U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials was nothing short of astonishing, a lot has changed since Torres set the world record in the 50-meter free when she was just 15 years old. However, Dara certainly can’t train the same way she could as a teenager.
Torres told Women’s Health Magazine:
You’ve got to have perseverance and believe that you can do it. It’s definitely much harder this time around but I thrive on that. I like having obstacles in my way.
One thing she’s gained with age is the ability to tackle those obstacles in the most efficient way possible. To be so successful for so long, she’s had to master the perfect balance of pushing and resting.
Here, Torres shares her stay-young recovery tips to supercharge your fitness routine. Whether you’re 15 or 45 these tips will aid you after a hard day’s work.
Most people don’t realize that it’s during sleep when your body rebuilds and recovers. You don’t get results from the workouts themselves, you get results from recovering from them, and building up fitter and stronger than before.
I get cranky if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep.
To make the most of each minute under the covers, put in play a nightly bedtime ritual. This can include reading a book, having a cup of tea, and switching off your TV and computer at least an hour before bedtime (the light from the screens tells your brain it’s time to be awake). Torres says it’s worth investing in a comfortable pillow. She uses the Sleep Innovations Rejuvenation pillow available on Target.com for $79.99.
WORK THROUGH THE PAIN
Soreness from yesterday’s workout shouldn’t be an excuse to skip today’s. Each workout causes microscopic damage to your muscle fibers—a process that sounds scary, but is actually natural; it’s the way your body builds muscle. The problem: You can feel your hard work the day later thanks to an effect known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). As long as soreness doesn’t persist longer than 72 hours, and you don’t feel like you’ve strained something, there are simple tricks to minimize the pain. Most effective? Massage.
Massages break up tight muscles, lessen the chance of soreness, and essentially allow your muscles to recover faster.
Recruit a partner or friend and pull off a massage swap. Another great option for pain relief is rolling out tight muscles with a foam roller. Icing sore spots after a tough sweat session can also help or try using a pain-relieving gel.
Stretching is beneficial and something people don’t do often enough. Try some simple stretches like the Knee to Chest Stretch or the Butterfly Stretch.
Everything you put into your body counts. You want to replenish fluid, electrolytes, protein and carbs within 30 to 40 minutes of your workout. What is a popular post-workout drink? Chocolate milk! It is a great mix of protein and carbs, tart cherry. If that doesn’t peak your interest try a smoothie with fresh ginger, turmeric, coconut water, banana, protein powder and honey or stevia.
Torres is a big believer in ‘everything in moderation!’ She aims to keep her diet clean and focuses on getting plenty of fatty acids. She feels:
They’re essential to support your workout and help the development of lean muscle mass and weight loss.
For example: walnuts, flax seeds and fatty fish like salmon are great sources of essential fatty acids.
Photo courtesy of: Dara Torres’s Facebook Page