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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                          February 15, 2008 
  • Time to Check Your Vitamin D Levels
  • Effective Stretches Relieve Joint Pain
  • Beginner Small Group Personal Training
  • Help Your Heart and Raise Some Money
    for The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Herndon


Time to Check Your Vitamin D Levels  

The Growing Importance of Vitamin D

Once thought to be just a vitamin necessary for strong bones, recent research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and periodontal disease. In a recent study, women who took vitamin D and calcium had 60 per cent less breast, lung and colon cancer at the end of the trial than women who took a dummy pill. And when the researchers dropped the cases discovered in the first year, assuming those cancers had been present but unnoticed when the trial began, the reduction in cancer in the vitamin D group was an astonishing 77 per cent. This study reinforces other studies showing more and more people experiencing low blood levels of vitamin D.


Vitamin D Basics

Vitamin D was originally misnamed and is actually not a vitamin at all. It's a naturally occurring hormone, produced when ultraviolet B rays (UVB) from the sun strike your skin. If more vitamin D is produced than is needed, your liver stores the excess. In a natural vitamin D cycle, the skin produces enough vitamin D in the spring and summer to last you through the corresponding winter when vitamin D production is at its lowest due to clothing and reduced hours of sunlight. Especially if you live in the northern latitudes, this is the time of year your body will have its lowest levels of vitamin D.


What Steps Should I Take?


  1. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked
    Your physician can administer a simple blood test to check for 25‑hydroxyvitamin D levels. Optimal levels are around 50 ng/mL (125 nM/L).
  2. Practice limited sunscreen free, sun exposure (5 to 15 minutes) in the middle of the day for adequate vitamin D production. You need about 4000 units of vitamin D daily. You make approximately 20,000 units of vitamin D after 20 minutes of summer sun. Depending on the color of your skin (darker skin requires longer exposure times) this brief sun exposure should be adequate for healthy vitamin D production in the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter, vitamin D supplementation is about the only way to keep blood levels within the normal range.
  3. Supplement with Vitamin D3
    Vitamin D3 is readily available from health food stores and is inexpensive. It's always recommended to have your doctor check your vitamin D3 levels before taking supplements. Excess vitamin D3 can be harmful to your body.


Vitamin D from Food

It is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D from your food alone. For all practical purposes, Vitamin D must come from either sun exposure or supplementation. Here are the primary foods that are naturally high in vitamin D listed in International Units (IU):
Salmon (3 1/2 oz.) 360 IU                                     Mackerel (3 1/2 oz.) 345 IU

Sardines (3 1/2 oz.) 270 IU                                   Fortified juice (8 oz.) 100 IU

Milk (8 oz.) 98 IU                                                Egg yolk 25 IU



To learn more about vitamin D go to:

In 2008, make Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle your number one goal. For more information on the benefits of living a healthier lifstyle go to http://www.sequoiahealth.comWe will be glad to offer you a no cost consultation and talk to you more about the benefits of Fresh Start. For a free
Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to 



Effective Stretches Relieve Joint Pains     


Who Gets Joint Pain
Inactivity or activity without proper stretching increases your risk of getting neck, shoulder, hip, back or knee pain. Many people with increased back, hip and knee pain attribute it to their extra weight. In reality, weight is rarely the cause. Rather, most joint pain can be traced to weak muscles as the result of a sedentary lifestyle; lack of joint lubrication (called synovial fluid) due to inadequate water intake and finally poor flexibility that is due to tight and shortened muscles. 


What Does Stretching Do?

Stretching is the best way to prevent premature deterioration of the cartilage in your joints. For the cartilage to stay healthy, your joints demand movement. Inactivity and constant sitting shorten and imbalance muscles placing abnormal stresses on your joints. Stretching helps to lengthen your muscles allowing them to relax and do their jobs better. Flexible muscles prevent narrowed joint spaces, premature cartilage wear and allow your joints to move freely. Stretching also increases joint range of motion keeping the joint well lubricated and healthy.    


Surgery is Rarely the Answer
According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, your chances of having a reaction and dying from general anesthesia are between 1 in 15,000 and 1 in 30,000. General anesthesia is serious stuff and that's why they have an anesthesiologist there to make sure things go right. General anesthesia becomes more risky when other medical problems like obesity, diabetes, heart and kidney disease are present. Any operation, no matter how "routine," is a significant stress on your body. Stretching can act as a prevention tool providing a way to avoid the risk of surgery.  

An Effective Stretch for Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint is a complex joint that is easily injured by a lack of stretching or activities that are too aggressive for one's conditioning. Tight and painful shoulder joints can easily become "frozen" generally requiring physical therapy. Here is an excellent shoulder stretch that works very well.

Towel Stretch: Grab the end of a work-out towel with your right hand. Lift the towel with your right hand and drape it over your right shoulder. Take your left hand and grab the other end of the towel. You will have to turn your arm so that your palm faces away from your back. Once you have both hands on the towel, walk both hands towards each other on the towel. When you can't go any further, gently pull up with the right hand to stretch the left shoulder. Repeat with the left hand.


A Good Stretch for the Lower Back
There are many reasons why people experience back pain. However, a majority of back pain is related to tight hip, back and leg muscles. The first and best way to help your back feel better is through stretching. Here is an excellent back stretch that works very well. 

Cat and Dog Stretch: Get on your hands and knees with your hands spread shoulder width and your knees hip width apart. Your head should be in a neutral position with your face pointed straight down. Without moving your hands or knees, try and press your belly button towards the floor. You will need to rock your hips forward to do this and increase the curve in the lower back. Hold for the count of 10. Now go in the opposite direction and try and press your belly button towards the ceiling. Your hips must rock backwards this time. Hold for a count of ten.


Try these stretches on a regular basis and see how much better your back and shoulders will feel.    

Do you feel tight and need a good stretch? Would you like to reach a healthy weight in 2008? Commit to Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle. Fresh Start provides the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best. For a free Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to    


Beginner Small Group Personal Training
Have you been thinking about beginning a weight training program but the local health club seems a little scary? Maybe you are concerned about how you look and would rather have some place a little more private? Do you have a medical condition that needs someone with special knowledge to help you get active again? We have just the program for you.  


The Better Alternative. This year we are offering a more sensible solution that will keep you coming all year long. Our once a week, small group fitness program (4 people maximum) will only cost you $20 a session or $55 a month. For your money you get your own personal trainer, Suzanne Riley, with convenient times offered on evenings and weekends. These are beginner, lower intensity classes designed to help you get moving again. 

You'll also get:

  • Goal Setting to help you stay on track all year long
  • Fun Activity with an instructor who knows how to Educate and Motivate
  • Exercise Guidance so you get the most benefits from exercising properly

To find out more please call Suzanne at 703-464-5171 or email Twice a week training packages are available as well.


A Great Cardio Activity and Fundraiser for the Jeanie Schmidt
Free Clinic in Herndon

February Whack-it League and Tournament 

Join us in February for some FUN cardio, social time and fundraising for a good cause.
We are partnering with Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Herndon sponsoring our first ever Whack-it league and tournament. Play times will be held on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. First, second and third place team prizes will be awarded. Come play for a good cause. Proceeds are being donated to the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Herndon.  

The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Herndon
was founded in 2002 by Jeanie Schmidt
who identified a critical need for health screenings for children seeking entrance to Fairfax County Schools.  In 2005, an adult clinic was added to serve the needs of patients with chronic health concerns.  In March of 2007, they moved to a dedicated facility at 500 Grove Street in Herndon.  


For more information on The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Herndon, go to 

For more information on how to sign-up, volunteer or donate to the tournament, please contact Suzanne Riley at 703-464-5171 or email to   


Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon

The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Dive
Herndon, VA 20170  

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis,
treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. 

Copyright (c) 2006-2008 by Sequoia Health and Fitnes
s, Inc.

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