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As far as feedback on the Posture Perfect!TM class goes, it has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class... 

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The Sequoia Advisor

       IN THIS ISSUE                                                               May 1st 2014

  • Three Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Your Stress
  • There's More to "The Core" Than Meets The Eye
  • LivMD Coming to Sequoia Health
  • Health Fair Saturday May 17th  Two Workshops
  • Posture Perfect!TM  Try Your First Class for FREE!

Feel Better... Live Better

Three Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Your Stress
By Woody McMahon

A Fast Paced Lifestyle
Your body and mind were never designed to successfully handle the
fast paced world we live in. The relentless schedule that most people
are keeping contributes to the ever increasing number of stress related
illnesses such as heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep disorders,
weight gain and back pain. Reducing your stress can have a significant
impact on how you look and feel.

The Damaging Effects of Too Much Cortisol
Prolonged "rat racing" causes cortisol, a stress hormone, to build-up in
the blood preventing your immune, cardiovascular, skeletal and
digestive systems from working properly. High cortisol levels can keep
you from losing or maintaining a healthy weight; reduce your low energy
and make you feel tired; raise your blood pressure; prevent your bones
from strengthening properly; make it difficult to sleep; increase your
aches and pains and contribute to depression.

Stress Damages Your Body
Over time, stress destroys your body's ability to function properly and
if left unchecked, can actually shorten your life. So what do you do if
you feel rushed and anxious all the time? What is the best way to
reduce stress and get more enjoyment out of your life? How do you stay
active but not too busy?

Try these three practical steps that can greatly reduce
your stress levels and help you live a longer and healthier

Step 1 Make Time to Practice Health-Based Exercises
The key to reducing stress is making sure that your exercise program
contains balancing, strengthening and relaxing components. This type
of program is called "health-based exercise." As an example, in our
Posture Perfect!TM classes, each session is designed to add strength,
increase flexibility, improve balance and promote relaxation.

The relaxation component in health-based exercise programs
increases your endorphins (feel good hormones) and reduces cortisol
(stress hormones). This hormone shift helps to reverse the damaging
effects of stress while allowing your body to heal. It is the special
combination of exercise elements that helps your body heal, reduces
aches and pains, promotes a better sleep and increases energy levels.
Step 2 Simplify Your Lifestyle
If you find yourself running around in a tizzy and realize that you have
over scheduled your life, consider simplification. Approaching life as if
there is no tomorrow leaves little time for enjoyment. If you want to live
life to the fullest, it is best to enjoy it to the fullest as well.

Constant over-scheduling means just going through the motions
turning stressful events into stressful days. The simplification process
begins by writing down your schedule and seeing if it looks reasonable.
Is there time for a healthy breakfast? What about a lunch where you
actually sit down and eat; not standing in front of your desk or doing
something else at the same time?

Have you left time for some fun physical activity; a nice walk with a
friend or maybe time to take a Posture Perfect!TM class? Have someone
else look at your schedule and if they say, "Wow, that looks very busy"
then it is best to
slow things down by rescheduling your day.
Remember, a greater emphasis on enjoyment will bring you better health
and a higher quality of life.

Step 3 Daily Meditation
If your mind is running at "100 miles a minute" your body, even when
you are sitting still, will try to keep up. Constantly bombarding your body
with the "100 miles a minute" messages sends it into full cortisol

True physical relaxation comes when the mind slows down and lets your
body relax. Daily meditation is a great way to quiet your mind, relax
your body and reduce cortisol levels to improve how you look and feel.
Spending just 5 minutes a day can begin a good meditation habit.
Here's how:

Find a quiet spot and then sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat
on the floor. Close your eyes and allow your mind to get calm and slow
down. If just closing your eyes doesn't work, you can concentrate on a
candle flame or on your breathing as a way to center your attention.
A great little book to help you is called "Meditation: A Beginner's Guide"
by Charlotte Parnell.

Adopting and practicing these three stress reduction tools will help
to de-stress your life making it much more fun.

Would you like to reduce stress and improve your health but don't
know where to start?
I provide several easy to follow programs that can
help reduce stress while improving your bone health, posture, balance,
strength and flexibility. Contact me anytime for a no cost consultation at
703-628-2880 or email to

There's More to "The Core" Than Meets the Eye
by Woody McMahon

Core Function
Your core is a group of important muscles whose main job is to stabilize
your spine, pelvis and trunk when you are moving during work or play. The
core muscles are also responsible for helping to reduce back pain and
maintain good posture. When you say core, most people think only
about the abdominal muscles. But in reality, there are many more
muscles involved than just the abdominal group. The muscles of the
lower back, pelvis and diaphragm also play an important role in
spinal stabilization.

The Core Important to a Healthy Back
Without your core muscles, your body would be too flexible and unable to
hold itself upright making even walking a challenge. The core provides
the necessary body stabilization that allows you to move safely through
many different directions and actions. Most back pain is the result of
weak, tight and unbalanced core muscles. A healthy, natural posture
is also a direct result of a well balanced set of core muscles.

Safely Training the Core
Training the core is best accomplished in the standing position. This is
the most common position used during lifting and moving during work
and play. Any exercises performed while standing will, by their nature, help
strengthen your core. For certain people, especially if standing is painful
or balance is an issue, core strengthening while lying down is also
beneficial. A combination of standing and lying down core strengthening is
very helpful especially if you have back pain, osteoporosis, shoulder, hip
or knee problems.

Popular Core Exercises to Avoid
Sit-ups, curl-ups and crunches are the top three exercises most commonly
used to strengthen the core. Research studies have shown again and again
that these exercises do little to strengthen the core. They can be responsible
for compression fractures of the spine, back muscle tears and spinal disc
herniations. Even though these exercises are still popular on TV, it is best
to avoid them at all times.

Suggested Core Exercises

Add these three safe core exercise to your fitness program
and see how much stronger and more stable you feel.

1. Abdominal Breathing: This is one of the most overlooked core
exercises in all of fitness training. Abdominal breathing, or belly breathing
as it is sometimes called, helps to strengthen your diaphragm which is
an important core stabilization muscle. Start by lying on your back
with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet flat on the floor.
Start your next breath by pushing your belly button towards the ceiling
as you breathe in. Keep your chest quiet as you breathe. Hold the breath
for a two count and then slowly release the air from your lungs.

2. Standing Row: This is great exercise that is performed standing and
really works the entire body including the core. You can perform this
exercise with a pulley machine or some exercise bands. Facing the machine,
stand with your knees bent, back straight and head up. Slowly pull the weight
towards your chest as you breathe out. As you pull, squeeze your abdominal
and gluteal (butt) muscles. The squeezing action will help to both
strengthen your core muscles as well as increase the safety of the exercise
by stabilizing your spine and pelvis.

3. 1/2 or Full Plank: The plank is an isometric "body weight" exercise that
helps to strengthen your entire body. When integrated into a health-based
exercise program, the plank is an effective way to strengthen the back, hips,
pelvis, chest, shoulders and arms. We use both the 1/2 and full plank in our
Posture Perfect!TM classes. It is a more advanced but highly effective

These exercises will stimulate not only the core but also your whole body.
Add them to your current workout and watch your balance and stability improve.

Would you like to safely add these core exercises to your fitness program?
Have you considered updating your current fitness program to one that is
health-based? Please call for additional suggestions and advice on getting more
from your exercise time. Start the ball rolling by emailing or calling me 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.

Low Intensity Vibration (LIV)
Comes to Sequoia Health

Two weeks ago, Ian Cutts, the head of marketing for Marodyne,
came to my office to discuss bringing an LivMD to Sequoia for client
use and sale. We also talked about using my Posture Perfect!TM
program as an exercise companion to help increase the benefits
derived from using the machine. 

The meeting went well and it looks like we will be getting a machine
in the next two weeks. We will be the only location in the greater
Washington. DC area to have the LivMD. The machine will be available
for both trial as well as regular use. We are working out the cost
details so stay tuned for more information. 

The Marodyne LivMD is a machine that looks much like a bathroom
scale. Standing on it, the LivMD provides your body with a low intensity,
low amplitude vibration. The special vibration frequency has been
shown to provide a safe stimulation benefit on bone, muscle and
nerve cells.
Several years ago Marodyne and I were discussing
bringing one of the LivMD machines to my office. It looks like that
day has finally arrived.

The initial research on the LivMD is promising for osteopenia, back
pain and osteoporosis as well as improved stability and balance. A recent
study of 710 adults over age 60 said this," LMHFV (LIV) is effective in
fall prevention with improved muscle strength and balancing ability
in the elderly. We recommend its use in the community as an
effective fall prevention program and to decrease related injuries."

Click Here to learn more from the official Marodyne

Upcoming Events and News

The Art of Wellness: A Health and Healing Fair
Sigrid and I have been asked to participate in the Unity of Fairfax
health and healing fair on May 17th from 1 to 5 pm.

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


There's No Place Like Home 1:30 to 2:15 pm
Pat Williams and I will offer our how to stay in your own home workshop.
We will provide valuable
information and answer your questions on how
to safely and comfortably stay in your own home.

Workshop #2
Osteoporosis... There is Something You Can Do About It!
2:30 to 3:15 pm
I will also be offering a 45 minute demonstration and workshop covering
the many facets of improving your bone health. I will discuss the
importance of vitamin D, explore the stress-bone health connection
and review many other bone health topics. I will also show you some of
the health-based, bone buildiing exercises we practice in our
Posture Perfect!TM classes.

Come by our table where we will offer posture assessments, fitness program
consultations and much more. The cost for the healthfair is $10. Hope to see
you there.

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

Our next regularly 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 2 towels, one face and one bath,
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. (All of these increase 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