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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                July 1, 2009 
  • Make Time to Stretch
  • Journaling is a Success Habit
  • The Benefits of Swimming for Dogs
  • Important Help for Osteoporosis
  • What to Do About Overeating 

Feel Better... Live Better

Make Time to Stretch

Your Muscles are Elastic

Inactivity or activity without proper stretching increases your risk of
getting neck, shoulder, hip, back or knee pain. Many people with increased
back, hip and knee pain attribute it to their extra weight. In reality,
weight is rarely the cause. Rather, most joint pain can be traced to weak
muscles as the result of a sedentary lifestyle; lack of joint lubrication
(called synovial fluid) due to inadequate water intake and finally poor
flexibility that is due to tight and shortened muscles.


What Does Stretching Do?

Stretching is the best way to prevent premature deterioration of the
cartilage in your joints. For the cartilage to stay healthy, your joints
demand movement. Inactivity and constant sitting shorten and imbalance
muscles placing abnormal stresses on your joints. Stretching helps to
lengthen your muscles allowing them to relax and do their jobs better.
Flexible muscles prevent narrowed joint spaces, premature cartilage wear
and allow your joints to move freely. Stretching also increases joint range
of motion keeping the joint well lubricated and healthy.


An Effective Stretch for Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint is a complex joint that is easily injured by a lack of
stretching or activities that are too aggressive for one's conditioning.
Tight and painful shoulder joints can easily become "frozen" generally
requiring physical therapy. Here is an excellent shoulder stretch that
works very well.


Towel Stretch: Grab the end of a work-out towel with your right hand. Lift
the towel with your right hand and drape it over your right shoulder. Take
your left hand and grab the other end of the towel. You will have to turn
your arm so that your palm faces away from your back. Once you have both
hands on the towel, walk both hands towards each other on the towel. When
you can't go any further, gently pull up with the right hand to stretch the
left shoulder. Repeat with the left hand.


A Good Stretch for the Lower Back

There are many reasons why people experience back pain. However, a
majority of back pain is related to tight hip, back and leg muscles. The
first and best way to help your back feel better is through stretching.
Here is an excellent back stretch that works very well.


Cat and Dog Stretch: Get on your hands and knees with your hands spread
shoulder width and your knees hip width apart. Your head should be in a
neutral position with your face pointed straight down. Without moving your
hands or knees, try and press your belly button towards the floor. You will
need to rock your hips forward to do this and increase the curve in the
lower back. Hold for the count of 10. Now go in the opposite direction and
try and press your belly button towards the ceiling. Your hips must rock
backwards this time. Hold for a count of ten.


Try these stretches on a regular basis and see how much better your back
and shoulders will feel.

Eating the right balance of foods can give you many of the antioxidnats you need
for good health. Contact us to discuss how Fresh Start can help you, in a healthy way,
learn to make better food choices. You will improve energy and stamina while feeling and
looking your best. Call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 to schedule your free Fresh Start
consultation. You can also email to


Journaling is a Success Habit

Keeping Track

Deciding to improve your health and fitness, take off some extra weight or
reduce your stress levels is much easier if you keep track of your
progress. It is difficult for most people to remember what they had for
lunch last Wednesday let alone keep track of the mental and physical
changes that occur over the course of an 8 to 12 week period. Journaling
becomes an effective tool providing a reviewable written history,
accountability and motivation. It is actually the most important way to
successfully change your behaviors and your life.


The Resistance Will Be High

It is only natural to resist the journaling process; almost everybody
does. When deciding to make changes in your life, think of yourself as
having a split personality. You literally have two personalities side by
side competing for dominance. The current you is in control and all about
the status quo. The current you screams loudly and digs its feet in
resisting change. The new you, on the other hand, is not as strong at
first. It must gain strength over time and eventually make friends with and
then make the current you the old you. Journaling allows the new you to
review progress, see the healthy habits that have been implemented and gain
strength. The stronger, new you can also better understand how the old you
ever came to power.


The Research

In an effort to determine why journaling is so successful, it has actually
been studied scientifically. A good example is a 2003 study by Fabricatore
& Wadden showing that obese individuals tend to underestimate how much they
eat by approximately 30%-50%. Without journaling, this large underestimate
would make it almost impossible for anyone to successfully lose excess
weight. Part of the underestimate can be attributed to pure memory
mistakes; the other is more likely the result of low accountability.
Obviously, accurate self-monitoring is crucial for long-term success of
any dietary program.


What Makes Journaling So Effective

Your journal has two major benefits. It keeps you honest, allowing for
accurate week to week comparisons of your progress and effective trouble
shooting. It also helps any health and fitness professionals that might be
assisting you review and discuss your program. As stated earlier, memory
over an 8 to 12 week period is a poor evaluation tool. Most of us remember
what we choose and practice revisionist history trying to make the "facts"
fit the outcome.


Getting Started

Keeping a successful journal means making the journal accessible at all
times and the process as easy to follow as possible. Some people chose the
low tech version by buying a spiral bound notebook and a nice pen. The
notebook and pen are inexpensive and easy to carry with you at all times.
If you are more technologically inclined then an Excel spreadsheet on a
computer or smart phone is good too. Which ever way you decide to go,
making it easy and accessible is the key to long-term usage.


Designing a Great Journal

The best journals include both physical and mental components. A typical
journal will have the following daily sections:

1) Food intake including types, approximate amounts and time of day eaten.
Food eaten should also include snacks

2) Water intake

3) Supplements

4) Medications

5) State of mind. How you feel about your day, your progress and

6) Activity levels

7) Weight (Not daily but once a week)


Make sure to leave lots of room on your journal so you can feel free to
ramble when the mood strikes you. Good luck journaling!

A strong immune system is the key to excellent health. Building a strong immunity is
just one of 8 healthy lifestyle habits we teach. We provide the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best.
For a free consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to    

Pets and People  


The Benefits of Swimming for Dogs 

Swimming is the one of the best physical activities for people and also for dogs because it exercises every muscle of the body without any stress. When swimming, muscles and joints are able to move through a complete range of motion without bearing any weight. Swimming in a pool with warm water has the added benefit of relaxing muscles (especially important for arthritic dogs) and increasing overall blood circulation. All dogs, even those that are paralyzed, have the reflex to swim when in water, as muscles relax and can be retrained. It will also enhance cardiovascular strength and general fitness and reduce recovery time from surgical procedures.

Which Dogs Will Benefit?
All dogs can benefit from swimming and the regular exercise will help your dog live longer and be stronger. This form of rehabilitation is particularly appropriate for dogs that are dealing with a range of conditions such as:

  • Arthritis: Swimming is a gentle activity for the older dog. Warm water relaxes muscles so the dog will not feel pain when exercising.  The water current stimulates sensory nerve endings in the skin, creating a soothing massage your dog will appreciate.  Many dogs are able to climb stairs and walk for longer periods when they swim regularly.
  • Hip Dysplasia:   Typically these dogs compensate for the pain and discomfort by altering their posture and gait resulting in the tensing of muscles which may exacerbate the condition.  Swimming relaxes muscles and can also increase muscle mass.
  • Post Surgery:  Dogs recovering from surgery are usually prescribed weeks of crate rest, which can cause a lot of stress on the dog and its owner. Because swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise, it will generally not interfere with the recovery and by increasing cardiovascular strength and improving fitness; post surgery recovery can be drastically reduced.  Swimming is also ideal for rebuilding muscles. 
  • Weight Loss: Just as with humans, excess weight is detrimental to your dog's health. Swimming is the perfect complement to diet in a weight loss program.
  • Endurance: Swimming is an excellent way to condition your dog for the show ring or for athletic competitions.

And most of all, swimming is just plain fun for your dog!


Seneca Hill Animal Hospital Resort and Spa in Great Falls, VA has a beautiful, state-of-the-art pool for dogs.  The pool is kept at a comfortable temperature and uses optimal techniques to keep it clean and sanitary.  All swim sessions are supervised by an attendant, and swimmers are blow-dried after their swim.  Swimming is by appointment only. 

And why not treat your dog to the complete spa treatment?  Let them get a Reiki session from Ingrid King of Healing Hands before or after swimming! 

Ingrid King is a writer, Reiki Master Practitioner and owner of Healing Hands. She publishes a FREE E-zine with topics ranging from conscious living for you and your pets to holistic and alternative health topics.  Healing Hands provides Reiki for pets and people.  Ingrid also hosts a popular blog, "The Conscious Cat".  She is the author of "Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher", to be published later this year.  For more information about Ingrid and Healing Hands, please visit

Help for Brittle Bones... Be Bone Strong!

"Healthy Bones Come From a Healthy Body" Woody McMahon

We have just introduced a new Fresh Start program called Be Bone Strong! Another
in our series of healthy lifestyle programs, Be Bone Strong! is the only complete osteoporosis prevention and repair program. Unlike other programs that just
focus on medications, calcium and vitamin D to increase bone density, Be Bone Strong! works to modify ALL the lifestyle factors that lead to poor bone quality.
Included in the program are:

The "Big 5 for Healthy Bones"

1. 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.
2. Calculate optimum water intake for maximum hydration. Water is very important
in helping the kidneys regulate pH and detoxify the body.
3. Increase daily stress reduction activities. This helps lower cortisol and homocystein
levels while reducing calcium loss.
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. Safe and sufficient weight bearing exercise to stimulate muscle growth and balance. This is essential for increasing bone quality and preventing falls.


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


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




Ask the Coach


What to do About Overeating

In America, we are blessed with lots of food choices and generous portions. Most
food companies, including restaurants, compete for your dollars by creating value in
volume. The sad news is that many restaurants offer poor ingredients AND distorted
making it difficult not to overeat. Overeating causes two problems..the
more you eat the more you buy into a false "need to eat" because of the imbalance of
portion size.


You may find yourself in one of three overeating categories; occasionally, daily or
in the extreme hourly. The results of these habits are not pleasant. In addition to
weight gain, you may experience digestive problems. These include heartburn, gas,
diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.
What most people don't understand is that these issues arise because of the
constant consumption of poor quality food.
Poor food quality is generally laden
with fats, sugar and salt causing the body to crave more of the same.


In David A. Kessler's book, "The End of Overeating", Kessler (a Harvard trained
doctor, lawyer, medical school dean and former commissioner of the Food and Drug
Administration), discusses how foods with high fats, sugar and salt alter the
brain's chemistry in ways that COMPEL people to overeat. The sugar/fat/salt
combination has addictive qualities; the more you get the more you "want".


Overeating is also promoted by the food companies which make it even more difficult
to eat well. Large advertising budgets use TV, radio and the internet to convince us
to "think" about these foods which, again, stimulates the cravings. There are much
fewer ads promoting the virtues of farm fresh tomatoes, homegrown kale or freshly
baked beets. These foods, by the way, are some of the "superfoods" your body really


So what do you do if you want to eat right and feel good? Try this quick exercise
the next time you sit down to eat. Ball up your hand like you are making a fist. Now
look at the plate of food. How much larger is the food portion than your hand? The
amount of food is probably at least double the size of your fist. Why do this? Your
hand represents the size of your stomach. That is how much food you need to be
comfortably "full".


Conditioning yourself to eat less may take you several months. If you slowly drop
your portion sizes to more closely resemble your fist and reduce snacking in between
meals, you can become satisfied with smaller portions. Try adding fresh foods and
you will find over time that you can crave them as well. Be conscious when you eat
and THINK about everything you put in your mouth. Avoid the mindless
munching.this is simply a recipe for stomach malaise, weight gain, and other
"side affects" that affect your performance.


This article is compliments of Freddi Donner Owner of For Health and Balance Coaching

and Connections for an Improved Way of Living. Call 703-450-6114 to find out more
about coaching and living a healthy lifestyle.

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) 2006-2009 by Sequoia Health and Fitness
, Inc.

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