As the busy mom of a 5-year-old, the swimmer shares tips for squeezing in a workout

By peoplestaff225
Updated September 30, 2011 02:00 PM

For Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, staying active is a natural part of her daily routine, but as the busy mom of a 5-year-old, she can relate to mothers who find it hard to leave their homes and families behind for a trip to gym.

As a result, Torres has teamed with Bengay Cold Therapy to get the word out on simple ways for staying fit.

“When squeezing in a workout seems impossible, think again,” she tells PEOPLE, citing workouts at home as an easy fix for the time crunch issue.

“I like to take cans of food and do mini-bicep curls,” Torres says.

“While watching your favorite TV show, challenge yourself to do push-ups, sit-ups and squats during commercials. Doing stuff with things you find in your house is very helpful if you can’t get out.”

Furthermore, Torres encourages moms to use their children’s schedules to their benefit.

“If you are really tired and your child is taking a nap, it’s always good to take a nap when they do,” she says. “And make sure you stay hydrated. You’re running around, chasing your kid around … if you want to work out, staying hydrated is very important.”

Kids can also be an asset to creating a workout routine, with Torres naming her 5-year-old daughter Tessa, as well as her dog Scarlet, as frequent training buddies.

“Whether it’s a long walk on the beach or a bike ride around the neighborhood, they keep me up, moving and laughing the whole way through,” she says.

Torres’ committed attitude towards working out is something the swimmer says never changed even during pregnancy, an attitude she encourages moms-to-be to maintain also.

“A lot of people don’t exercise when they’re pregnant. I don’t know if it’s fear or what it is, but I always exercised when I was pregnant, so it was easier for me to lose my weight,” says Torres, who gained 36 pounds. “I swam my whole entire pregnancy. I think that really helped a lot. I even worked out the day I had my child.”

In addition, the swimmer says expectant mothers should also keep an eye on what they’re eating.

“I don’t think you should feel like you’re eating for two. I think that’s just an excuse,” she says. “Eat things in moderation. And definitely consult someone if you want to go to the gym and work out a little bit.”

Ultimately, “the biggest thing is just to listen to your body,” Torres says. “That’s one thing you really have to pay attention to.”

— Kiran Hefa