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September 1, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

3 Ways To Keep Fit During The Fall

Many Canadians don’t want to admit this. But with September finally here, the summer is practically over. The kids will be returning to school next week and the weather is slowly but surely making its transition into cooler temperatures. Yes, the fall season will soon be upon us. And, for many of us, our daily routines are about to go through drastic changes. And these changes our bound to impact our workout schedules.

When the summer begins, many of us are all too happy to take our exercise routines outdoors. Excited to exit our cooped-up statuses of indoor workouts, we thrive on warm and sunny days that allow for enjoyable jogs in the park. So what do to when it’s too cold to go outside every day? While the fall can still provide pleasant conditions for outdoor exercise, there are alternatives to our summer workout routines.

Here are three ways to keep fit during the fall:

1. Get back into the gym. Many of us don’t have homes that are conducive to working out. Between a lack of space and an absence of exercise equipment, some of our homes are better left for activities such as eating and sleeping. If the end of summer lessens your choices for workout locations, make the gym your go-to destination. Now is the perfect time to renew that gym membership that you may have been neglecting for the past few months.

According to MamasHealth.com, “it takes 30 days to make fitness a habit, and supplementing outdoor exercise with increasingly frequent visits to your health club will help diversify your exercise regimen and set the stage for regular workouts once autumn’s leaves have fallen…While aerobic activity such as running or bicycling is good for your heart, resistance training is also a critical component of a balanced program.”

2. Dress for the colder weather. Who says that outdoor exercise is off the table just because summer is coming to an end? Some people can’t get enough of the great outdoors. There are even some who continue to get their cardio through jogging in the park all throughout the winter season! The key, of course, is to keep warm. Needless to say, you’ll need to layer up appropriately depending on the temperature outside.

As Rian Landers notes on Livestrong.com, that shouldn’t be hard to do. “When weather gets cooler, it can deter people from going outside to work out,” he writes, “This problem can be mediated by wearing wind-shielding clothing and dressing in layers. Proper attire and accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) that cut down on bulk but still allow for warmth make outdoor fitness more enjoyable as the chill of fall approaches.”

3. Pay better attention to nutrition. Throughout the summertime, it’s easier to fall into the trap of eating junk food. With all of the festivals and fairs that take place, you’re bound to indulge in some of the fried, salty and sugary eats that are commonly sold at these events. You’re not alone. But, now that summer is winding down and the temptations are bound to decrease, a renewed focus on healthy eating will help you to stick to your fitness goals.

MamasHealth.com notes that following the “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” idiom is a good idea. “Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, inhibiting the growth of dangerous plaques along blood vessel walls, and dietary fibre, apples are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day,” explains the website.

July 28, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

3 Ways That Drinking Water Helps Weight Loss

Many parts of Canada are experiencing quite the hot and humid summer. This time of year definitely helps to kill the stereotype that Canadians live in year-round wintery conditions. If you’ve chosen this summer to exercise outdoors, you’ve chosen a good one. However, it’s incredibly important to keep something in mind when you’re out in the heat. You have to stay hydrated! In other words, drink that water!

It may sound like a no-brainer. It’s hot outside, so you’re bound to get thirsty, right? Drinking water, however, does a lot more than simply quench your thirst. Hydration plays a big role in weight loss. So if you’ve been hitting the sidewalk for your daily jogs and walks, it’s imperative that you bring a water bottle along with you. Again, it’s not just to keep you from being thirsty. Staying hydrated will help you shed those pounds.

Here are three ways that drinking water helps weight loss:

1. Drinking water burns calories. Have you ever considered the fact that your body has to use energy to either heat up or cool down what enters it? This is certainly true for water, as explained by Vicky Weiler on FitnessBlender.com. She writes that the way our bodies absorb water entails the burning of calories. In fact, she notes that this is the most direct way that drinking water helps with weight loss goals.

“The body must first warm (or cool) fluids that enter the body to 98.6°F (body temperature) before they can be utilized,” she explains, “This process requires energy (calories) to either create heat (if drinking something below body temperature) or remove heat (when drinking something above body temperature). The calories required to do this are not a lot, but over time it can make a big difference.”

2. Drinking water helps to avoid overeating. A good weight loss regimen involves the eating of nutritious foods. Significantly cutting back on carbs and sugars while getting healthy helpings of proteins and vegetables is a great way to start shedding some pounds. However, you’ll also want to ensure that you are eating proper portions. The more water you drink, the better you’ll be at preventing overeating.

Alison Goldman of Women’s Health Magazine quotes Dr. Keri Peterson on the subject: “’A lot of people confuse thirst for hunger,’ says Peterson. ‘So they’ll tend to eat rather than drink water.’ If you’re craving a midday snack and want to make sure your pangs are caused by hunger, not hydration, have a glass of water first. Then see if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later, says Peterson.”

3. Drinking water helps you to exercise better. According to Weiler, “lean muscle in the human body is made up of around 80% water and it needs that water to function properly. When you start to become dehydrated your muscle tissue starts to lose water and it makes it harder for that muscle to contract effectively, reducing your strength and endurance.” Therefore, staying hydrated is actually a necessity when it comes to getting the best exercise possible.

“It has been stated that as little as a 1% drop from optimal hydration can reduce your physical ability by up to 5%,” reveals Weiler, “You could actually see your caloric burn from your workouts drop by 5%, not to mention that you will feel weaker and less capable, which can slow your exercise progress in many ways.” As you can see, working out without a water bottle is simply bad for business. So if you’re in the business of losing weight this summer, drink up!

June 23, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

Best Practices For Burning Calories This Summer

Summer has arrived! So, the chances are that you’ll be spending more of your time outdoors. Why not utilize all of that extra outdoor time by getting some well-needed exercise? If you’re like most people, you’ve allowed the colder months of the year to become the excuses you use to not find time to work out. Well, the time for making excuses is over and the time for working out outside is here. The summer is the perfect time of year to burn calories!

Don’t assume, however, that a jog in the park should become part of your daily schedule. Instead, it’s important to focus on quick bursts of energy to maximize the number of calories you burn. There is a common misconception that running steadily on a treadmill for a long duration of time is a slimming exercise. It actually isn’t. Liz Plosser of Women’s Health Magazine writes that running with more intensity in shorter bursts will greater benefit you.

“Most people operate under the assumption that the more they run, the more weight they’ll lose,” she explains, “Problem is, the more miles you log, the more efficient your body becomes at running and the fewer calories it burns…In other words, you’ll initially drop some pounds, but your progress will flatline as soon as your body adjusts to your exercise regimen.” Plosser recommends, therefore, that you “switch into high gear”.

When you cause your muscles to work harder to process oxygen, they expend more energy. This creates a greater calorie-burning process in the body. As well, your metabolism will stay active even after your workout has been completed. “In a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who ran hard for two minutes followed by three minutes at a low intensity torched more calories in the 24 hours following their sweat sessions than those who did slow, steady mileage,” reports Plosser.

Burning calories, however, will also take a stricter approach to your diet. With the summer now here, it’s going to be pretty hard to completely avoid all of the calorie-laden treats that come with barbeques, picnics and other events that are commonplace at this time of year. But to keep your body in tip-top shape, it would be wise to avoid them. In case you’re wondering exactly what foods are on the “Do Not Eat” list, SkinnyMs.com happily reveals them.

Anything with refined sugar and white flour should be cut out. Sodas (even “diet” ones) should also be avoided. As well, it’s important to eat smaller portions of food more often throughout the day. Instead of the standard three large meals, opt for smaller meals five to six times a day. This also will help to boost your metabolism. “Eating on salad plates instead of dinner size plates is a good start,” says the website.

The way you approach your diet is similar to the way you should approach your workouts. In a way, less is more. Instead of jogging for a half hour, run in quick sprints that are broken up by walking intervals for about fifteen minutes. Instead of eating a big meal three times a day, try doubling up on the meals, but cutting down on the portion sizes. Combining these practices will certainly help you to burn calories.

It’s wise to switch up your exercises too. That way, you won’t get bored and your body won’t get used to the same old routine, which will result in less calories being burned. “Warm up and cool down with five to 10 minutes of slow jogging or fast walking,” recommends Plosser, “For the most slimming results, switch up your workout – don’t just stick with the interval routine that feels easiest.”

Good luck!

May 20, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

6 Steps To Securing Your Slimmer Summer Body

If you’re the type of person who has been saying something along the lines of “when the weather gets better, I’ll start working out again”, you’re not alone. The fact of the matter is that most of us are full of excuses when it’s cold outside. The idea that it’s a lot more enjoyable to exercise in the warmth and sunshine of summertime is widespread. So don’t feel too guilty. But, let’s be honest, waiting for summer is an excuse. And the time for excuses is over!

There’s no wrong time of year to get yourself to a place of optimum health and better shape. But there couldn’t be a better time than now to kick off those outdoor workouts in order to secure yourself the beach body that you’ve been dreaming about all winter long. Naturally, it will require a combination of good nutrition and adequate exercise in order for you to meet your fitness goals. So let’s see if we can’t get you there with some helpful tips.

Here are six steps to securing your slimmer summer body:

1. Pace yourself in your first week. No matter what type of workout routine you plan on engaging in, it’s important to not overdo it right away. Especially if you’ve taken a bit of a break from working out over the colder months of the year, you’d be doing your body a favour by warming up to a regular exercise regime. Amanda Vogel of Best Health Magazine reminds us that “you might feel some mild to moderate muscle soreness a day or two after your first few workouts, which is a sign that your muscles are adapting to the new challenges of the workout.”

2. Stay hydrated. All workout routines, whether they take place in the summer or winter, require the drinking of water. Not only does water keep you hydrated, but it’s important for overall health. Women’s Health Matters states that “the heat not only builds a person’s thirst during a workout, but it also causes the body to enter an unbalanced state. During the summer, people are at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated.” So be sure to never leave home without your water bottle!

3. Concentrate on cardio. Vogel writes that there are three important components of fitness: cardio exercise, strength training and flexibility. For cardio, she suggests starting with a 45 minute walk. For the second half of the walk, increase your speed to the point where it is “moderately challenging” enabling you to speak only in short sentences. Don’t assume that non-stop running is always necessary as you don’t want to burn muscle. Burning fat entails that you both elevate and lower your heart rate during your workouts.

4. Avoid the hottest times of the day. It’s not uncommon to be tempted by the warmth and sunshine that usually comes in the middle of the day. If you intend on working out during your lunch break, you may wish to opt for a shaded area. “The best way to avoid the heat on any warm summer day is to choose your workout time wisely,” states Women’s Health Matters, “Exercising during the coolest times of the day ensures a healthy workout with less stress on the body.”

5. Track your results. How else will you know how well you’re doing if you’re not making notes of your progress? “Before you begin, you might find it motivating to take a few baseline measurements so you can track your results as you slim down,” suggests Vogel, “Consider taking note of your current weight, measuring your waistline (or other areas you’d like to trim down) and keeping a journal of each workout. You’ll likely find that certain exercises will feel easier over time as you get fitter.”

6. Be sure to cool down. Working out during the summertime can be a lot of fun. But remember that with the heat comes added pressure on the body to keep it cool. Take the time to recuperate at a slow and steady pace after each workout, says Women’s Health Matters. “Whether you choose to exercise indoors or outdoors, a proper warm-up and cool down will always be a must for your workout routine,” they advise.

April 14, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

6 Helpful Tips To Help You Spring Into Better Shape

With spring now in full swing, there are a lot less reasons to put off those outdoor workouts. Of course, it’s always important to make time for your health and fitness routines. But during the wintertime, you can be excused for missing a day or two considering the off-putting outdoor conditions. Well those excuses are no longer valid when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. It’s time to spring into better shape!

For most of us, that’s easier said than done. You’ll first need to find the time to workout, which really comes down to being dedicated. If you have particular weight loss or fitness goals, it’s up to you to schedule your workouts so that you’re not falling short of your objectives. It’s all about your mindset. If you can visualize your desired outcome, you’ll be more likely to achieve it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need some help along the way!

Here are six helpful tips to help you spring into better shape:

1. Ditch all the packaged snack foods. The first step to enjoying a new weight loss-inducing workout routine is to get a lot more diligent about what you eat. And that means eliminating all of that processed junk food. On Bodybuilding.com, Shannon Clark insists that attaining a “bikini body” means avoiding frozen dinner meals, ice cream and even fruit-flavoured yogurt. It should go without saying that chips, pretzels, sugary cereals and white bread need to go too.

2. Meet with your doctor. Planning out an effective exercise regimen for the spring is an excellent idea. But you want to make sure that your body is cut out for it. Shape.com reminds us that visiting your doctor is a very important step in the process. You’ll want to check for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and determine if you have any vitamin deficiencies before designing your workout program, says the site.

3. Get good sleep. You’ll notice that these fitness tips haven’t yet included any specific exercise recommendations. Getting into better shape entails certain lifestyle changes. And in addition to eating right and checking in on your current state of health, getting enough sleep is essential. “People who don’t sleep enough are at a higher risk of accumulating body fat,” writes Clark, “Furthermore, it’s likely that your lack of sleep won’t help you fight the craving for a late-night snack run.”

4. Get a partner in crime. Do you have a friend who has similar fitness goals as you do? Having added motivation to workout can be a great way to stay on course with your objectives. Shape.com recommends that you team up with someone who is looking to getting into better shape as well. “Your best bet: Get together at the same time four days a week, whether it’s before work or just before dinner,” recommends the site.

5. Focus on intensive cardio. Many people fall into the trap of believing that a half-hour jog on a treadmill will help to burn fat. This is a misconception. “Instead, add short, super-intense sessions of cardio to your regimen,” advises Clark, “Alternate 30 seconds of intense work with 60 seconds of reduced work and repeat the sequence 8-10 times. You can do interval training anywhere-on a treadmill, on a bike, on the elliptical, or on a rowing machine. Mix it up!”

6. Protect your skin. A lot of your workouts are likely to take place outdoors now that the weather is warming up. But what’s the point of getting in better shape if you’re only damaging your skin in the process? Achieving optimum health includes taking measures to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. “Rub waterproof lotion with at least SPF 15 or more over all exposed areas of your body,” insists Shape.com.