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The Sequoia Advisor

       IN THIS ISSUE                                                               March 15th 2014

  • Avoid These Exercises Like The Plague
  • Osteoporosis Medications... Are They Worth the Risk?
  • Unity of Fairfax Health Fair Saturday May 17th  1 to 5pm
  • Posture Perfect!TM Gift Certificates Available
  • Posture Perfect!TM  Try Your First Class for FREE!

Feel Better... Live Better

Avoid These Exercises Like The Plague
By Woody McMahon 

Older Bodies Need Special Care
Older bodies need special care especially when it involves starting
a safe and effective exercise program or continuing an existing one.
In the exercise world, safety is often sacrificed for bigger biceps or
chest, stronger abdominals and a smaller waist. Even Yoga and Pilates,
that are generally thought as safe, have certain movements that are
better to avoid. The bottom line is this;
caution is advised when
beginning to get active or updating your current exercise program.
It is good to "exercise" a little caution as you get more active and
try to improve your health.

Exercises That Heal Your Body
Scientific research has shown that the right kind of exercise has a
strong ability to help heal your body and relax your mind. The wrong
exercises can actually cause injury and even permanent physical
problems. Staying away from exercises that can hurt you and substituting
with health-based exercises has a healing effect that is stronger than
even the best medications for the health problem. I like to say "keep it
safe, simple and effective."

Exercises That Can Cause You Harm
There are several exercises that "don't do your body any good," especially
if you are in the age 50-plus category. Truth be told, these exercise
movements don't even serve younger bodies well either but the youth are
less apt to listen to my story anyway.

Here is a partial list of exercises to avoid:
Side Bends
Toe Touches
Yoga Cat Stretch
Unstabilized Twisting Motions
Seated Exercises With/Without Weights
Sit-ups, Crunches and Straight Leg Raises

Doing More Harm Than Good
All of the above named exercises place unhealthy pressures on the spine
and dramatically increasing your risk for fractures and other back injuries.
The silly thing about them is that they are easy to avoid because most have
been shown not to be effective and do not provide essential elements that
help keep your body strong and independent. Many people incorrectly
believe that they are exempt from my recommendations because they
either have been working out for many years or exercise regularly.
Not so, I say.

Exercise Related Back Injury is Very Common
The number one exercise related injury is to the back. If you have ever
hurt your back exercising, here are the two main reasons. First, most
beginner exercise programs are performed seated. Sitting places extreme
loads on the spine eventual result in injury. Second, most people select
exercises that are too demanding for their conditioning level. You are
much better off avoiding seated exercise and only selecting safer and
more effective exercises.

Women Are More Affected Than Men
Women, more than men, must be careful to avoid these exercises because
of bone health issues. Osteoporosis and low bone mass (osteopenia) are
both conditions that require special exercises and techniques to assist
in the successful management of the condition. Unless you have been
tested for a bone health problem, you might never know until it is too late.

Your Over Age 50 Goals Are Different
Another consideration is your goals. As you get older, your exercise goals
change as well. Balance, leg strength and joint function all become much
more important than big biceps or six pack abs. Your balance becomes
a much more important consideration than the amount of weight you can
bench press or curl. It is wise to allow your exercise program to become
more practical and designed to improve your activities of daily living.

Health Based Exercise Programs
Health based exercise programs can help you feel better and prevent your
body from becoming the bent over "poster older adult" you see in the
pictures. Once you begin to work with these specialized exercises, you
will feel changes in your body. Your exercise program will safely help
improve your posture, balance and strength while having a beneficial
effect on your bones, breathing, digestion, heart and memory.

Exercise is good "YES" but it is better to be safe than sorry when it
comes to your exercise program. Will you still be able to get a good
workout without all of these unsafe movements? Absolutely!

Have you updated your exercise program lately? If you have not
updated your exercise program and made it safer and more effective;
you owe it to yourself to call right now. We can start with a no-
consultation and see if you are on the right track. If not, I can help you
get the most out of your exercise time. Give me a call at 703-628-2880
or email to


Osteoporosis Medications... Are They Worth the Risk?
by Woody McMahon 

Bone Medications Carry Risks
At some point in their lives, many women must decide if they are going to
take medications to try and increase their bone density. Usually this
occurs after a bone test called a DEXA. The DEXA test measures the density
of the bones in the hip and the spine giving a number that is referred to
as a DEXA score. If the score is low, (osteopenia or osteoporosis), then
your doctor may recommend medications to increase the score.

Osteoporosis and Bisphosphonate Therapy
Dr. Susan Ott, Professor of the Department of Medicine at the University
of Washington, Seattle is one of a handful of experts who presents a balanced
and conservative approach to using medications for the treatment of bone
health problems. She has
prepared an excellent research article entitled,
What is the Optimal Duration of Bisphosphonate Therapy? It is a clear
and concise discussion of the benefits and risks of the most common
class of osteoporosis medications called the bisphosphonates.

Fosomax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast
You may not recognize the medications by the name the bisphosphonates
but you certainly are familiar with Fosomax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast.
Dr. Ott says, "As with any drugs, bisphosphonates should not be used
indiscriminately. They are indicated for patients at high risk of fracture,
especially those with vertebral fractures or a hip bone density T score
lower than -2.5."

Are These Medications Being Overprescribed?
The answer to that question maybe unfortunately yes. Dr. Ott describes
the fact that these medications are being prescribed for many more
patients than they were first intended. These medications were
initially approved by the FDA for patients at high risk of fracture, especially
those with vertebral fractures or a hip bone density T score lower than -2.5.
Now many more women are taking the medications. By some accounts, up
to 4 million alone in this country.

What Are The Risks?
The risk associated with over-prescription is that these drugs can carry
serious side effects that include atypical femur fractures and jaw
osteonecrosis. Because of the way these medications work, long-term use
(over 5 years) tends to create bones that are denser but also
substantially more brittle. In some ways, extended use of the
bisphosphonates contributes to the very problem they are trying to solve.

Additional Highlights of the Report
"Reports of adverse effects with prolonged use have caused concern about
the long-term safety of this class of drugs. This is particularly
important because these drugs are retained in the skeleton fro longer than
10 years; because there are physiologic reasons why excessive
bisphosphonate-induced inhibition of bone turnover could be damaging; and
because many healthy postmenopausal women have been prescribed
bisphosphonates in the hope of preventing fractures that are not expected
to occur for 20 to 30 years."

"Another common misunderstanding is that the bone density increases
because the drugs are "building bone." After 3 years, the bone density in
the femur reaches a plateau. I have seen patients who were very worried
because their bone density was no longer increasing, and their physicians
did not realize that this is the expected pattern."

"A study of 50 women treated with bisphosphonates for 6.5 years found
that 33 percent had a mineralizing surface of zero. This means that
patients taking bisphosphonates are forming very little new bone, and one
third of them are not forming any new bone."

"But bisphosphonates may have long-term negative effects. One purpose of
bone remodeling is to refresh the bone and to repair the microscopic
damage that accumulates within any structure. Without remodeling, cracks
can accumulate. Because the development and repair of micro-cracks is
complex, it is difficult to predict what will happen with long-term
bisphosphonate use."

Would you like to improve your bone quality but don't know where
to start?
I provide an easy to follow program called Be Bone Strong!TM
that helps improve your bone health, posture and balance while reducing
fracture risk. Contact me anytime for a no cost consultation at
703-628-2880 or email to

Give the Gift of Health!
Posture Perfect!TM Classes...

Looking for the perfect healthy birthday gift for someone?
Consider purchasing a gift certificate for one or several
Posture Perfect!TM classes. Gift certificate amounts start
at $20. This is the perfect gift, the gift of health, to give
to someone you love.

Upcoming Events and News

The Art of Wellness: A Health and Healing Fair
Sigird and I have been asked to participate in the Unity of Fairfax
health and healing fair in May. Pat Williams will also be there and she
and I will offer our
There's No Place Like Home workshop.

Here is the event information:

Unity of Fairfax Health and Wellness Fair

2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA 22124

Saturday May 17th, 2014 from 1 to 5pm

Pat and I will provide valuable
information and answer your questions
on how to safely and comfortably stay in your own home. The exact
time for our workshop is still to be determined.

I will also be offering two 30 minute demo Posture Perfect!TM classes.
At out table we will offer postural assessments, fitness program
consultations and much more. Hope to see you there.

There's No Place Like Home Workshop Series...

Our next scheduled workshop is at:

Congregation Beth Emeth
12523 Lawyers Rd, Herndon, VA 20171

on August 26th, 2014 from 2 to 3pm

Pat Williams of GraceFul Care and I will
provide valuable
information and
answer your questions on how to safely
and comfortably stay in your own home.

Pat and I believe that your home is your castle and, for many
beneficial reasons, you want to stay there as long as possible.
Deciding to stay at home may be one of the biggest life changing
decisions you will ever make

Fortunately, we are here to help you plan and make good decisions
allowing you to stay in your own home for as long as you want

In our workshop we will discuss the many health and quality of life
benefits of staying in the comfort of your own home rather than
moving to a retirement facility. We will outline the logical and
important steps necessary to keep you in your home.

Just like we tell all of our clients, "You Can Stay, We Can Help!

Recent research has shed some interesting light on the darker side of
retirement home living. Everything from higher costs to the loss of
personal freedom and independence has been examined in these
recent reports. These reports have determined that living in a
retirement setting is not as easy or as glamorous as you might think.

Click Here to read more about our wonderful, new program.

Beginner Posture Perfect!TM Classes in Herndon,
Reston and Arlington

We have beginner Posture Perfect!TM classes in Herndon, Reston and
Arlington. Take your first class for FREE and see how much taller, more
balanced and relaxed you feel afterwards. To register please contact
Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to

Please wear comfortable clothes and bring a face and bath towel,
a bottle of water and an exercise mat if you have one.

I am offering in-home health-based exercise instruction for
those who cannot leave their home. Contact me to find out more!

Posture Perfect!TM for Spinomed Program
I have created a new companion back strengthening exercise program to
help anyone wearing the Spinomed orthosis. The classes include helpful tips
on getting the most from your Spinomed as well as exercises that help
strengthen your back, improve your posture and increase your balance.

Click Here to learn more about this exciting program.

Posture Perfect!TM First Class FREE

If you have never tried Posture Perfect!TM you owe it to yourself to
come to one of our convenient classes and see how good it makes you
feel. We want you to give us a try so come take your first Posture Perfect!TM
class for FREE. It's on us... so what do you have to lose?

Please call Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to for more information or to make
your reservation.

The FREE Posture Perfect!TM class helps introduce you to the many
benefits of our safe and effective posture, balance and strength program
co-developed by Sara Meeks, PT and Woody McMahon, personal trainer.

Come and experience how each class can help strengthen your bones,
improve your balance, alleviate backaches and neck pains, improve
osteoporosis and teach you how to sit and stand-up straighter. 

The History of Posture Perfect!TM
When I developed the Posture Perfect!TM classes over 2 years ago, there
were no safe and effective exercise programs available for "over age 50" adults.
Everywhere I looked there were older adults in classes that used seated

exercises (bad for your back); machine style exercises (bad for your balance)
treadmills (a poor hip and leg strengthener); and performed movements
that involved crunching, bending and twisting. (increases the risk of spinal
compression fractures)

Posture Perfect!TM solved all of these problems by offering a safe and effective
approach helping older adults become more active. Each class improves your
posture, strengthens your bones, enhances your balance, alleviates back
aches and neck pains, reduces fracture risk and teaches you how to sit
and stand-up straighter. 

We have several people in our current classes who are coming to strengthen
their bones
and over half of the others are interested in exercises and posture
changes to help make their backs and necks feel better.

Please call Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to for more information, class times and reservations.

Posture Perfect!TM Testimonials...
Posture Perfect's! momentum continues to grow. Here is a glowing testimonial
from one of our class members.

"Posture Perfect!TM class has not only met my expectations, but exceeded
them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class. The small class size
gives each of us extraordinary personalized training; your knowledge,
expertise, patience, and sense of humor makes me look forward to
coming to a class I thought would be only for 6 weeks; and I have
learned so much more than I expected."

"For example, I now think about my posture every time I sit, and just when
I thought I'd begin to have a hard time rising from sitting on the floor, you
taught me how to make it easier. I try to practice some of the balance
exercises a couple of times a week (I know, I should do it more often!).
I thank you for all I have learned from you so far, and hope to continue
this class for the foreseeable future!"
Paula S.

Click Here to read more about S.A.F.E. and effective Posture Perfect!TM

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon
The Sequoia Advisor

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

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) 2006-2014 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.


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    A mindful and holistic approach to Fall Prevention, Balance, Full Body Functional Strengthening and Posture Exercises for All Ages! Our Science-Based Exercises are Safe and Appropriate for Your Ability. Our Exercises Help Improve Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Fear of Falling, Balance and Strength Problems. Reston, Great Falls, Herndon, Middleburg, Arlington Sterling and Northern Virginia.

    483A Carlisle Drive
    Herndon, VA 20170

    300 West Washington Street
    Middleburg, VA 20118