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Dara Torres' 6 Reasons to Take Your Workout Outside

Plunge into Something New

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Summer's almost here…and it's time to think outside the gym. Olympic swimmer (and model) Dara Torres, 44, is full of ideas for taking your workout into the great wide open. "I love doing laps in the pool or biking along the beach," says Torres, who is the first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympics. Exercising in the pool, at the beach, or even in the park can provide the same cardio, toning, and strengthening as a gym regimen…with a blast of invigorating air, to boot. Just don't forget the sunscreen.

Go Fetch!

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Got a pet? Use the 'call of nature' to your advantage. "Taking your dog for a walk or to play Frisbee is also a great way to stay active outdoors," says Torres, who calls her dog Scarlet her "best workout companion."

Stretch Your Limits

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"When I'm not in the pool, I love to stretch by practicing yoga outside," says Torres. "It keeps me strong and flexible as I train." Plus, a serene al fresco setting can heighten relaxation. "My personal favorite is Ki-Hara Resistance Stretching; the stretches are simple but highly effective." (Read more about it in Torres' book, Gold Medal Fitness).

Phone a Friend (or Family)

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Besides her dog Scarlet, Torres's favorite workout buddy is her young daughter, Tessa. "Whether it's a long walk on the beach or a bike ride around the neighborhood, family and friends keep me moving and laughing the whole way through," she says. "They keep your spirits up and increase your results by adding just a hint of competition!"

Multi-Task on Your Days Off

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Sneaking a workout into a day of errands can be a snap in the summertime. "Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and try walking or riding a bike instead of driving if your errands are close enough," Torres says. "It won’t cut into your to-do list and will ensure that you stay in shape."

Listen to Your Body

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"If you lead a busy and active life, it's important to take care of your body and pay attention to the signs that it gives you," Torres says. "One of my favorite things to use when I start to feel any aches or pains is Bengay Cold Therapy. It's a great way to quickly relieve any discomfort so that I don't have to slow down my schedule."