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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                June 1, 2008 
  • Good Balance Crucial to Healthy Living
  • Fats Are Essential for Better Health
  • Lap-Band Activity Classes... Make it Work Better
  • Active Adults... Don't Let Health Problems Slow You Down


Good Balance Crucial to Healthy Living

Reduce Your Chance of Death
In people over the age of 65, falls are the main cause of serious injury and accidental death. Every year thousands of people injure themselves because of poor balance. Your ability to balance properly is critical to preventing a life threatening fall.  Like many other functions in your body, balance is learned and must be practiced on a daily basis. There is a direct correlation to the amount of time spent sitting and your body's ability to balance. In other words, the more you sit, the less your body needs to balance.

The Balance Mechanism
Your eyes, inner ears, sensors on the bottom of the feet, (proprioceptors) and brain are all responsible for helping keep your balance. When you balance, signals from your eyes, inner ear and feet are sent to the brain about the body's position in relation to its surroundings. These signals are processed by the brain determining head angle, body position and movement patterns. When all the signals are properly sent, your balance is good; lack of signals from any of those areas can cause big problems.


What Can Go Wrong

Beyond all the other things that can go wrong with your balance systems- inner ear infection, loss of feeling (neuropathy) in the legs and feet, loss of eye sight or clear vision, vascular problems and brain tumor- the number one reason for the loss of balance is a sedentary lifestyle. Activity, especially walking and sports based activities, stimulate the balance mechanisms and prevent deterioration as you get older. Coordinated movement stimulates your body's balance mechanisms forcing them to stay tuned and sharp. 


Leg Strength and Its Role

Leg strength is a critical factor to good balance. Weak legs change the way your lower body functions causing a shuffling of the feet to occur when walking. Shuffling can lead to increased trips and falls. Strong legs allow you to lift your feet properly when you walk and catch yourself if you do trip or stumble preventing a fall in the first place. The best way to train your legs to improve balance is through free squats with one dumbbell and lunges. These exercises strengthen leg muscles while also stimulating your balance mechanisms.    


Simple Ways to Stimulate Your Balance

Practicing your balance every day can be a real lifesaver. It can be as simple as standing on one leg when you do the dishes or brush your teeth. For athletes like runners, golfers and tennis players, good balance is critical to strong athletic performance. For more active people looking to improve their sport, lifting weights in a standing position instead of sitting can make a big difference in overall balance. Standing while you lift weights forces your balance mechanisms to keep you upright during the exercise.


Advanced Balance Practice

Once you have mastered balancing on one leg, more advanced techniques are available to push your performance envelope. Advanced balance training programs incorporate simple tools like BOSU balls, Airdex pads, ½ foam rollers and balance boards. These tools create an uneven or movable surface that further stimulates your balance mechanisms. Another good training technique is to close your eyes when you balance. This interrupts your visual system forcing the proprioceptors of the feet and legs to control the balance mechanism. This advanced training technique is helpful for low light or darkness conditions when your eyes are less effective at giving feedback to the brain.

Staying active makes a big difference in how you feel. In 2008, make Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle your number one goal. Go to our website at and take the
Health Investment Questionairre.
Once you have taken it we will be glad to offer you a no cost consultation and talk more about the benefits of Fresh Start. For a free Fresh Start consultation, please call
Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to



Fats Are Essential for Better Health


No Low Fat Diets

A low fat diet is not a sensible way to eat especially when it comes to better health. Low fat foods have been shown to actually rob you of essential fats and oils. Following a low or no fat approach is actually bad for your health making it harder to lose weight and keep yourself healthy. Unfortunately many organizations in the know, like the American Heart Association, still have outdated information on their website about fats, oils and cholesterol.

The History of Low Fat
In the early 1980's obesity and heart disease were on the rise (they still are). The original theory was to reduce total calories by cutting out all fats because fats have the highest calorie density (calories per amount) at 9 calories per gram as compared to 4 calories per gram for proteins and carbohydrates. Most nutritional authorities were substituting carbohydrates for fats, having us eat as much as 80% carbohydrates. This was the time when everybody in the country had a rice cake in their hands. All fats became the "bad guys" because they were incorrectly seen as the precursor to high cholesterol and heart disease.

Diets Gone Wrong
The first diet guru to get us off track was Nathan Pritiken. His program cut fat almost to zero and people did lose weight, their blood cholesterol did go down and they felt better temporarily. But in the long term, his followers were always hungry and their hair, nails and skin became dry due to a lack of essential fatty acids. His approach was a bad idea  because it was unsustainable in the long term and caused other health problems. Even today, many people still believe his teachings and follow his advice to the detriment of their own health.

A Better Way
One of the foremost authorities on fats and oils is Udo Erasmus, PhD. His information is cutting edge and his book, Fats That Heal Fats That Kill, is one of the best at explaining how to develop and maintain a healthy fat balance for optimum health. He clearly explains why not all fat is bad and why there is a need for essential fats to curb hunger, promote healthy skin, hair and nails and maintain proper hormone function. His book can help you better understand the health benefits of fats and oils in a balanced diet. Here are some of Udo Erasmus's "quick facts" taken from his book on the use of fats and oils:

  1. You need a 2:1 ratio in your diet of essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFA's come from fats and oils and are major nutrients. One is (LNA) alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3) and the other is (LA) linoleic acid  (Omega 6). Both are easily destroyed by light, air, and heat. This is why they become toxic when heated and should not be used for frying.
  2. Good sources of Omega 3's are flaxseeds and green leafy vegetables. The Omega 3's are also found in high fat, cold water fish such as albacore tuna, sardines, Atlantic halibut and salmon, Coho, pink and king salmon, Pacific and Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, and lake trout as well as oysters and other shellfish.
  3. Good sources of Omega 6's are found in sesame and sunflower seeds and other seeds and nuts. Land animal meats and fish are sources of the Omega 6's. The fish listed above are preferred sources of omega 3's and omega 6's because they are the richest sources, and contain both with more omega 3's.
  4. Almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts are highly nutritious snacks associated with longevity. To ensure an adequate intake of Omega 3's, good plant sources should be included in the daily diet including green leafy vegetables, seeds, whole grains, beans and nuts.
  5. Extra virgin olive oil, while not damaged by processing, is a poor source of essential fats. When extra virgin olive oil is fried, it is extensively damaged.
    It should not be used for frying, but should be added to foods after they come off the heat.

Try this fun Fat Calculator presented by The American Heart Association at


Eating healthier foods is a life long challenge. Would you like to learn how to take better care of yourself in 2008 while improving your health? 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    


Make Your Band Work Better With Pinnar Activity Classes
Do you want your Band to work better? 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? Are you older and 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. For your money you get your own personal trainer 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 Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email Twice a week training packages are available as well.


Active Adult or Senior Citizen... It's Your Choice

A Crossroads in Your Life

If you think you can go sailing through life paying little attention to your future health, it just isn't true. The decisions you make about food choices, activity and stress levels today dramatically affect your future. Investing in your health today pays great dividends as you get older. There is nothing worse than retiring and not having your health or being able to do the things you want to do. Make the decision today to be an Active Adult and not a Senior Citizen.


The Time to Start is Now

Dedicating as little as three hours a week to improving your health can make a big difference as you get older. Don't let health problems slow you down or keep you from enjoying life. Getting active, eating healthier and reducing stress improve most medical problems. Remember, if you are going to be an Active Adult, you'll want to learn how to be proactive rather than reactive with your health.   


Be an Active Adult Today
Give us a call at 703-464-5171 or email to find out what steps you can take to feel and look your best. Click here to take the

Health Investment Questionnaire, a great way to learn more about what you can do to become an Active Adult.

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 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.

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