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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                March 15th 2010
  • Fitness Toys for Better Balance and Strength
  • March is the Best Time to Check Vitamin D Levels
  • Easter Safety Tips for Your Pets
  • Osteoporosis Support Group Meeting April 6th
    Via Conference Call
  • Change Your Posture, Improve Your Health

Feel Better... Live Better

Fitness Toys for Better Balance and Strength

by Woody McMahon 

We All Need Some Toys

There are three simple, effective and inexpensive fitness toys that belong
at your club or in your home. In no particular order they are the BOSU ball,
balance board and foam half roll
. All three of these toys challenge your
balance in unique ways making your exercise sessions more effective and fun.


Why You Need to Practice Balancing

The majority of head traumas and hip fractures are related to poor
balance. Getting older reduces your ability to balance because of increased
time sitting, a lack of leg muscle strength and reduced muscular
coordination. A well designed exercise program that includes balance
training can improve all three of these fitness deficits. The use of fitness
toys helps challenge your body in unique and fun ways enabling it to
better prepare and react to real world situations.


So let's explore the three most important fitness toys for balance:


The BOSU Ball

If you have never heard of or used the BOSU, you are missing out on a
great piece of training equipment. The BOSU is a rubber half round ball
that can be used for strength, balance and cardio conditioning. The fact
that the BOSU is soft gives it greater versatility than a standard step.
You can step on or into it depending on the type of exercise and effect you
are seeking. It can be used by people who need a softer exercise surface
due to foot or ankle pain. You can jump on top of it like a trampoline for
a great cardiovascular workout or use it to lunge into for a dynamic leg
and core strengthening effect. You can squat, press and work on your core
all on the ball as well.


The Balance Board

The balance board looks like a playground teeter-totter made of wood.
The object is to stand on the board, feet hip width apart, and balance it
parallel with the floor. By using equal amounts of foot pressure, the board
can be controlled and maintained flat and level. This toy is not as easy as
it looks but it is a wonderful exercise for increasing leg strength and
balance. Once you have mastered standing on the board then a whole variety
of exercises can be performed while balancing. You can squat, press and
work on your core on the board. There is also a second style of balance
board that is circular and provides a 360 degree balance challenge.


The Foam Half Roll

The foam half roll is a half of a cylinder of foam. It is usually 3 feet
long and has one round and one flat site. You can use both sides of the
roll but generally they are used round side down. Carefully stand on the
flat side with your feet perpendicular to the roll. You should be able to
rock the roll forwards and backwards with your toes and heels. Make sure to
space your feet about the width of your hips. Now while slightly bending
your knees, stop the roll form moving forwards and backwards. Your toes
should not touch the ground at any time. Just like with the balance board,
you can squat, press and work on your core all on the foam roll. For more
advanced rollers, you can also stand and balance long ways on the roll as

You can generally find these fitness toys at your club or any fitness
supply store
. Give these toys a try and see how they can really "pump up"
your workouts.

Good posture is more important than just sitting up straight. Your posture
affects your breathing, spinal alignment, blood pressure, digestion and many
other bodily functions. Fresh Start Fit After 50! helps improve posture as well
as reduce stress, improve balance, strength, flexibility, energy and stamina.
After just a few weeks, you will feel like a new person. Call Woody McMahon at
703-464-5171 to schedule your no cost Fresh Start consultation. You can also
email to


March is the Best Time to Check Vitamin D Levels
by Woody McMahon

Lowest Levels of the Year
In the winter months, your body uses stored vitamin D from the liver.
If the liver stores are not adequate at the end of the summer, your blood
will show low levels just before spring. Checking levels in March gives a
much more accurate indication of whether you are getting enough vitamin
D for the rest of the year. If you supplement regularly with vitamin D, your
values should be much higher and maybe even in the normal range.

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.

A recent study of women who took vitamin D and calcium showed a 60%
decrease in breast, lung and colon cancer at the end of the trial over the
women who took a placebo. When the researchers dropped the study 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%. This study reinforces other studies showing
that it is harmful to your health to have 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 the skin produces more vitamin D 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 winter when vitamin D production is at its lowest due to clothing and
reduced hours of sunlight. 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 D3 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). You
can also order a home test kit for vitamin D from the Vitamin D council
2. Sunscreen Free, Sun Exposure (5 to 15 minutes)
Sunscreen free, sun exposure (5 to 15 minutes) in the middle of the day is
adequate for vitamin D production. The average person needs about 5000
units of vitamin D daily. You make approximately 20,000 units of vitamin D
after 15 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. Supplementing 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:

The lack of vitamin D can cause excess weight gain
Follow our Fresh Start Healthy Weight! system and you'll reduce your weight
and improve your health at the same time. We provide the education, motivation
and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and
look your best. For a no cost consultation, please call Woody McMahon at
703-464-5171 or email to



Pets and People

Easter Safety Tips for Your Pets
by Ingrid King
As you get ready to celebrate Easter with family and friends, keep the
following precautions in mind to ensure that your furry family members stay
safe and healthy.
Chocolate is toxic for pets, especially dogs. Even small amounts of
chocolate can be extremely dangerous. The toxic component in chocolate,
theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an
abnormally elevated heart rate. Different types of chocolate contain
varying levels of theobromine. Dark chocolate contains the highest amounts
and is therefore the most toxic to dogs. Early symptoms of chocolate
toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling.
Easter Lilies
Easter Lilies are deadly for cats, so make sure you keep them completely
out of cats' reach. Other potentially poisonous flowers may include tulips,
calla lilies, daisies, crysathemums and baby's breath.
Easter  Grass
Easter grass can be life-threatening for cats if ingested. The material
can wrap itself around your cat's intestines and cut off circulation,
requiring immediate medical intervention. Look for safer alternatives to
Easter grass, such as tissue paper.
Sugar Substitutes
Xylitol, a popular sugar substitute used in anything from sugarless gum to
toothpaste is highly toxic to pets. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar
and can lead to seizures and liver failure.
All it takes is a little common sense and your entire family can enjoy a
safe and happy Easter celebration.
Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. She is
the author of Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher. Her
online magazine News for You and Your Pet goes out to subscribers around
the world. Her blog, The Conscious Cat, has been called "educational cat
nip for the cat lover" and is a comprehensive resource for conscious
living, health and happiness for pets and their people. For more information
about Ingrid, please visit


Osteoporosis Support Group Meeting
Via Conference Call

"Healthy Bones Come From a Healthy Body" Woody McMahon

Topic: Eliminating the Negative Effects of Stress on Your Bones 

Date :
Tuesday April 6th

Time: 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc
483A Carlisle Drive, Herndon, VA 

Our last conference call support group was a great success. Join us for our next
conference call style format support group so that you may participate from the comfort
of your own home. For more information and reservations please contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to



NEW Posture Correction Class Starts
in March

Good posture affects your health in many ways. A simple change to your
posture not only improves your health but can make you look and feel years
younger. Better posture strengthens the spine and reduces the risk of
fractures. In March, we are adding posture classes to our already
extensive Be Bone Strong! program.

Be Bone Strong! continues to stay at the cutting edge in building stronger
bones and healthier bodies. We will continue to work with your doctor and
help you create and implement an effective osteoporosis treatment plan. Our
support, sympathetic ear and shoulder to lean on will still be there
eliminating the unnecessary fear and worry this condition can bring.


With the use of Skype, emails, phone calls and the internet, you can benefit
from the only complete osteoporosis prevention and repair program.
Video consultations, stress reduction activities, healthy eating plans and
functional weight bearing programs all available in the comfort of your own
home over your computer. 

Our unique three step process makes it easier to improve bone strength faster:


Step 1: Personalized Osteoporosis Lifestyle Assessment

Step 2: Comprehensive "Make My Bones Strong" Plan and Program

Step 3: Implementation Support, Motivation and Consultation

Follow The "Big 6 for Healthy Bones" and you can't go wrong:

1. Increase daily stress reduction activities. This helps lower cortisol and homocystein
levels while reducing calcium loss.
2. Safe and sufficient weight bearing exercise to stimulate muscle growth and balance. This is essential for increasing bone quality and preventing falls.

3. Dietary changes that balance protein with fruit and vegetable intake.
Fruits and veggies contain greater amounts of water, minerals and antioxidants with generally lesser amounts of animal protein to reduce total body inflammation.

4. Establish year round vitamin D3 levels in the 50-80 ng/mL (or 125-200 nM/L).
This should be confirmed by regular 25-hydroxyvitamin D testing.
5. Calculate optimum water intake for maximum hydration. Water is very important
in helping the kidneys regulate pH and detoxify the body.

6. Strategic Epigenome training program to speed bone healing. The most powerful
healing tool in the human body. 


Test your bone knowledge and take our Strong Bones Healthy Body Quiz at


To learn more about Be Bone Strong! Online or to schedule a free consultation, please go to and click on Be Bone Strong!



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) 2006-2010 by Sequoia Health and Fitness
, Inc.

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