Tag: exercise

Rev Up Your Engines!

happy woman weighing herself loses weight by boosting her metabolism

Keep Your Metabolism Running Optimally

What Nutrients Does the Thyroid Need?

The thyroid is dependent on iodine, our main food source is iodized salt. Those of you using sea salt are probably not getting the benefit of the iodine added to regular table salt. I recommend switching to iodized sea salt, available at most health food stores. Selenium, zinc and amino acids, especially tyrosine, are also crucial to healthy thyroid function. Excess mercury can be detrimental to thyroid function.

Adrenals and Metabolism

The adrenal glands are our stress glands and help the body cope in times of stress. They assist the thyroid hormone to function properly by enabling transfer of the hormone into the tissues where it works to increase metabolism. The adrenal glands need substantial amounts of vitamins B5, B6, C, potassium, magnesium and zinc especially while under stress.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid derived from safflower seeds. It helps reduce stored fat and increase lean muscle mass.

Exercise and Metabolism

Exercise can increase your metabolic rate for up to 15 hours afterward, so get off the couch and walk briskly, dance, go on the treadmill, do something active for 30 minutes 5-7 times per week.

Stress and Slow Metabolism

What people often refer to as a sluggish metabolism can be just the symptoms of excess stress – hands and feet get cold, they feel tired, can’t get going in the morning and they gain weight. Stress reduction through psychotherapy, exercise, yoga, tai chi and massage therapy can all help if stress is the problem.

Our naturopathic doctors can help rev your engines and optimize your metabolism to make weight management more successful. Call 416-481-0222 or click here to book now.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc,ND


Fitting it In

woman running in a triathlon

Exercise: It’s Worth Finding the Time For

One of the most common reasons I hear for not exercising regularly is a lack of time for exercise. Given all these health benefits, it’s well worth making the time for.


  • Fights chronic disease
  • Improves mood
  • Manages your weight
  • Strengthens your heart and lungs
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Can spark your sex life
  • Can actually be FUN!

So here are a few tips to try to fit it in:

  1. Get up early and squeeze in a brisk half hour walk first thing
  2. Take half an hour from your lunch hour for a brisk walk
  3. Go for a walk as soon as you get home from work and before dinner
  4. Do a lively dance to some upbeat music in your living room
  5. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy endeavor at the gym. Just some brisk movement for at least 30 minutes per day.
  6. Find something that you like: ballroom dancing, karate, swimming, volleyball, tennis, baseball, kickboxing, running, biking, hiking, Zumba etc.  With endless options to choose from, there has to be one activity that you enjoy doing and can stick with.

Vacation is a Killer!

man with overweight, obesity

Obesity in the U.S.

Every time I travel to the US I am appalled at the lack of healthy food and healthy habits.  No wonder obesity is predicted to affect 42% of the US population by 2030. That’s obesity, folks, that’s not just overweight. In the cities I’ve been to, people rarely walk and greasy, salty, sugary food is everywhere.  Portion sizes are enormous and consequently so are the waistlines.

Here are a few tips to maintain your healthy habits through your next vacation:

  • Try to do a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day – find a shopping mall, go to a theme park, park the car and see the sights on foot
  • Always leave something on your plate – most meals contain adequate calories to feed one person for a few days
  • Stock up at the nearest grocery store or market on fresh fruit, baby carrots, celery sticks, raw nuts and seeds and carry healthy snacks with you so you aren’t tempted to overeat the restaurant food
  • Stay hydrated – airplanes are very dehydrating. Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight to avoid vacation constipation and blood clots.
  • Do seated calf raises while flying, especially long flights to keep the circulation moving through your calves and prevent blood clots.
  • Stock up on vitamin C and echinacea before, during and after your trip to avoid picking up the multitude of germs on the plane.

Top 3 Daily Health Habits

  1. 8 glasses of water every day. How to make it happen: Buy large water glasses that hold at least 2 cups of water and drink 2 large glasses of water first thing each morning, then empty your large glass 2 more times during the day and once more in the evening.
  2. Exercise.  How to make it happen: Get up half an hour early each morning to walk, run, swim, bike or do yoga before work, bike or walk commute to work, park or get off the bus 10-15 minutes walk from work and walk the rest, take two 15 minute walk breaks during the day and go for a 10 minute walk or jog in the evening after dinner.
  3. 10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.  How to make it happen: Have a serving of berries at breakfast, an organic apple mid morning, a large colourful salad at lunch, half of a grapefruit in the afternoon and large portions of a cooked vegetable and salad at dinner.

Healthy Heart Tips


  1. CoEnzyme Q10 – also known as ubiquinone, CoQ10 has been shown to help strengthen the heart muscle, help with infertility, breast cancer and diabetes.  It’s found in foods such as fish, organ meats, including liver, kidney and heart; and the germs of whole grains.
  2. Resveratrol – prevents aging-related decline in cardiovascular function including cholesterol level and inflammatory response.  It’s found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, and
    berries of Vaccinum species, including blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries
  3. Fish oils – Omega 3 fatty acids from eating fish or taking fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects, reduces blood pressure, and may also be anti-atherogenic.
  4. Get a dog!  Both adults and children who owned dogs reported greater levels of heart healthy physical activity and lower levels of stress than those without dogs.
  5. Reduce your stress.  Take up Yoga, Tai Chi, breathing exercises, meditation, a walking program, daily exercise, anything that helps you lower your stress hormones.
  6. Exercise every day.  Exercise flushes out the cardiovascular system, strengthens the heart muscle and helps all around because it reduces insulin, reduces stress and keeps blood sugar healthier.

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

As the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter, activity levels naturally drop and the upcoming holidays tend to involve binging on sweets and starchy foods. 


A 2000 study found that holiday weight gain may be an important contributor to the rising prevalence of obesity. 


The average weight gain in the 6 weeks from mid November to January 1 ranges from 1-5 pounds. 


In a subsequent study, successful weight losers maintained greater exercise, greater attention to weight and eating, greater stimulus control, and greater dietary restraint, both before and during the holidays.


A few tips:

  1. Keep portion sizes of “bad foods” small,just a bite or two of triple chocolate cheesecake may be enough
  2. Increase your exerciseon the days before and after a particularly indulgent event
  3. Load up on cinnamon, it’s a warming herb that has been shown to keep blood sugar levels stable and insulin levels lower
  4. Stay well hydrated and drink 2 cups of water before each meal
  5. Have the soup, studies have shown that soup before a  meal reduces overall caloric intake
  6. Get back on track.  If you go overboard, don’t beat yourself up, just regroup and get back on track with your usual healthy habits.


Source: Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec;58(12):378-9 and J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Jun;76(3):442-8.

Cold Weather Workouts

With the colder weather you may just need to bundle up more for outdoor activity or take your workouts inside.  I love to run and generally maintain my outdoor running workouts 2-3 times per week over the winter.  I just dig out the insulated winter running tights, layer on t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirts, maybe a sweatshirt on really cold days then a windbreaker, hat and gloves.  Some of my running friends attach extra traction to their running shoes to prevent slips and falls and to gain speed over ice and snow.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m thinking an investment in something like Yaktrax might be a good idea this year. 
A couple of my favourite indoor workouts that don’t require a gym membership include:

  1. Yoga: My favourite yoga video is Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga series because I prefer a more vigorous ashtanga yoga, If you’re new to yoga you may want to try Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners
  2. Cardio: The days that I don’t run, I do a cardio workout in my living room called Turbofire.  The instructor on these is a good motivator, the workouts are fun but as challenging as you want to make them and include some high intensity interval training which has been shown to deliver great results in a time efficient manner.

Remember in cooler weather that gradually warming up and keeping muscles, tendons and ligaments warm becomes more important to prevent injuries.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Prevention

Along with the fall and winter comes the potential for seasonal affective disorder appropriated abbreviated as SAD.  Some quick prevention tips to start now:

  1. Vitamin D – one of the best cold and flu preventers there is and has also been shown to help prevent SAD
  2. Exercise – a natural mood booster
  3. Support the adrenal glands – studies have shown that SAD is associated with lower morning cortisol levels which is indicative of adrenal fatigue.  Adrenals need lots of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, potassium and tyrosine to function well.

Make Gratitude a Habit

Research on gratitude suggests that a conscious focus on blessings has emotional and interpersonal benefits. 


We can foster a healthy sense of well-being through a habitual focusing on and appreciation of the positive aspects of life and those around us. 


People who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:


• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.


Source: Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good/

11 Tips for Staying Out of the Doctor’s Office

  1. Increase your vitamin C intake from berries, peppers, and citrus fruit, eat 1/2 cup of these per day
  2. Take an additional 500 mg of vitamin C twice per day with food
  3. Get outside – to lower cortisol (stress hormone) and produce vitamin D
  4. Take an additional 1000 – 2000 IU of vitamin D per day
  5. Lower your sugar intake, cut out sugary drinks
  6. Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep per night
  7. Exercise daily – a brisk walk will do
  8. Eat an apple a day – it truly does help by helping the liver detoxify
  9. Take an Epsom salts bath – it helps detoxify, restore tissue magnesium levels and lower cortisol levels
  10. Socialize!  Enjoy time with family and friends
  11. Reduce your stress level through yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, meditation, walking, delegating, learn to say “no”, take “me time”, exercise, laugh and be silly.