Spotlight on Wellness: Healthy Living Tips from Olympians

Five Arizonans will be competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio through most of August. While they’ve been putting in hours and hours of training and refining their food regimes for maximum performance, we thought it would be fun to take the secrets of some of the most renowned athletes and translate them into tips for you. (Click here if you'd like to read about the five Arizona athletes.)

All Olympians know where they’re starting from and the goals they are trying to reach. So start with a baseline health assessment. Make sure you're getting your annual physicals and a comprehensive blood work up to help with a wholesale assessment of where you stand. IPC has an office full of providers ready to help.

Breakfast is more than just showing up on a Wheaties box. All Olympians consider breakfast to be one of the most important things they do during their training regimen. Anything with protein - from eggs with whole grain toast to a frittata with dark leafy greens will give you the boost to cross the finish line at the end of a long day. If you need some ideas to kick start a protein-filled day, check out these recipes. Dr. Levitt also suggests adding in several cups of matcha green tea throughout the day to help keep your inflammation in check.

U.S. Olympic Committee Dietician, Jennifer Gibson, says that many athletes in training opt for organic whole foods instead of processed foods. This allows them to know what ingredients are in their meals and keeping them low in pesticides. Environmental Working Group has a handy pocket-sized listing of produce that tends to be heavy with pesticides. Get a copy of the list here so you can have it handy for your next shopping trip.

Olympians know the power of maximizing their muscle capacity. Training combined with stretching is the only way to do that. Not only does stretching help with alignment, balance, flexibility and an overall sense of wellness, stretching can also cut down on injuries. We've found some great stretches here. Experts suggest dynamic warm ups and stretches before you exercise. Static stretches are usually held for 30 seconds. Dynamic stretches get you warm and stretch. These active movements might mimic your actual workout. For runners, as an example, hip circles, walking lunges and butt kicks will activate the muscle groups used in running. For walkers, walking lunges, knee lifts and other movements might help. This provides a bit of a cardio warm-up as well as reduce your risk of energy and improve your athletic performance.

Most Olympians do not just stick with one fitness routine. Most take advantage of cross-training to shape different muscles in their body. We’re sure you’ve seen the uptick in crossfit kinds of workout places. If you’re up for those hardcore workouts, great. Just make sure if you have any specific issues with knees, shoulders or other challenges that you feel comfortable to “opt out” of those particular movements. Walking, yoga and other low impact exercises are ideal for all ages. Depending on your age range, consider learning more from either the National Institute on Aging or Healthline. And if you do have pain, consider meeting with Dr. Simonson in the IPC office who has expertise in utilizing trigger point therapy and prolotherapy to assist with such challenges.

To watch the Olympians in action check out 12 News for all the latest news and schedules.