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The Sequoia Advisor

IN THIS ISSUE                                                               May 1st 2015

  • Three Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Your Stress
  • There's More to "The Core" Than Meets The Eye
  • Volunteers Needed for the LivMD Investigational Study
  • 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 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 life.

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 overdrive.

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 fulfilling and 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 a 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. Half 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 exercise.  

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 $25. This is the perfect gift, the gift of health, to give to someone you love.

LivMD Updates

Volunteers Need for a LivMD
Investigational Study

We are conducting an investigation study of the Marodyne LivMD Low Intensity Vibration device. We are looking for a wide range of study participants with a broad set of health conditions. The study will collect a variety of information from the volunteers to assess the effectiveness of the LivMD for:

  • Improving Circulation
  • Restoring motion to joints
  • Redeveloping muscles
  • Assisting as an adjunct treatment for obesity
  • Relieving aches and pains throughout the body

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer study participant, please contact Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to

Here is a testimonial about the LivMD from a psychotherapist in Rhode Island. She read about the LivMD in my newsletter and then decided to buy one and give it a try. Here is her testimonial in its entirety:

"Hi Woody,

I love it!  No back pain any longer and my last osteo scan stunned my doctor showing the first improvement in #s ever.  She said it was a statistically significant change.  I was using it twice a day 7 days a week.  My balance has been much, much improved, energy higher, focus better, sleeping longer.  I sent Marodyne a quick note letting them know the results even though I hadn't been using it very long.  There were no other changes I had made other than the platform.

My life became very sedentary a few months due to other health events. Tests couldn't find anything and I became curious about lymph problems that could be causing the extreme lower leg edema.  I looked at recent research on the LivMD and saw that it can also help with that - hooray! So, I'm back on the machine as of Tuesday - not as vigorous because my feet hurt - hopefully that will improve.

No one I know personally owns one, but a few clients have reported their gyms employ vibrating devices.  Their descriptions make me think they are higher in vibration. They haven't reported any exercises that were added to their routines by the gyms.   I put mine outside on nice days (covered porch) and let people know they can come by on days when I'm working and use it.  (I'm a psychotherapist with a home office.)

Thanks for the check-in - as ever I wish you were in Rhode Island and value your newsletter.  If you ever make videos for purchase of your programs, please let me know.  Are you thinking of exercises people can do while ON the LivMD or in conjunction with its use?

Kyle Hopkins"

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. Come take your first Posture Perfect!TM class for FREE. It's on us... 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 back aches 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.

Read more about S.A.F.E. and effective Posture Perfect!TM classes.

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) 2006-2015 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