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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE July 15th 2014
- Abilty Not Age The Most Important Factor for Fitness
- The Skinny on Fats and Oils
- Mindfulness Meditation Retreat in Reston
- New 8 Week Posture Perfect!TM Classes Series Begins
- Posture Perfect!TM Try Your First Class for FREE!
Feel Better... Live Better
Ability Not Age the Most Important Factor for Fitness
By Woody McMahon
There are 4 important factors to be aware of once you have decided to
start an exercise program. It is more important than you might think to
participate in an exercise program that is safe and "right for you."
Factor #1 Exercise Ability
It is best to have your exercise program match your current conditioning
levels. Starting an exercise program that is beyond your current ability
dramatically increases the chance of serious injury. Find an exercise
program that will increase in intensity as your abilities and conditioning
Factor #2 Exercise Safety
Exercise safety is rarely talked about at your average health club, YMCA
or gym and that is why there are so many fitness related injuries. Most
people begin with the same basic exercise program regardless of their
ability or conditioning level. A diagnosis of back pain, osteoporosis or
osteopenia requires a very different approach to exercise; one that
eliminates seated exercises and flexion motions.
Factor #3 Exercise Appropriateness
Health-based exercise programs are the most effective programs currently
available. Health-based exercises target specific health problems and help
reduce pain, improve back and hip strength, posture, flexibility and
balance. These exercises better prepare your body for daily activities
such as loading groceries, house cleaning, gardening, tennis, golf and
travel. Your fitness program should include health-based exercises.
Factor #4 Exercise Convenience
It is not always convenient to go somewhere to exercise. Exercise
programs that are simple to learn, require no special tools and can be
practiced anywhere are your best bet. As an example, someone practicing
good posture throughout the day can benefit from many more hours of back
strengthening than someone who is unaware of their body position.
Inactivity or activity without proper stretching increases your risk of
getting neck, shoulder, hip, back or knee pain. This is especially true
as your body gets a little older. Tight muscles can increase the
"wear and tear" on joint cartilages leading to premature knee and
Many people with increased back, hip and knee pain attribute it to
their age or excess weight. But in reality, age or weight are rarely
the reasons. Rather, most joint pain can be traced to three main
1. Tight and weak muscles as the result of a sedentary lifestyle
(AKA too much sitting)
2. A lack of joint lubrication (called synovial fluid) due to inadequate
3. Poor flexibility caused by tight and shortened muscles
How Does Stretching Work?
Stretching helps to lengthen your muscles allowing them to relax and do
their jobs better. Inactivity and constant sitting shorten and imbalance
muscles placing abnormal stresses on your joints. Stretching is also the
best way to prevent premature deterioration of the cartilage in your
joints. For the cartilage to stay healthy, your joints demand movement.
Flexible muscles allow your joints to move freely preventing narrowed
joint spaces and premature cartilage wear. The increased motion that
stretching provides allows your joints to work better by keeping them
well lubricated and healthy.
The Best Time to Stretch
I agree with most experts and suggest that you only stretch after a
thorough warm-up. For the best results, this means stretching at the
end, rather than the beginning, of your exercise session. The rationale
for this approach is that your muscles are cold prior to a workout.
Stretching a cold muscle is similar to trying to stretch a cold piece
of chewing gum. After the exercise session, your tissues are more
pliable making them receptive to stretching and long-term improvements
An Effective Upper Body Stretch
The shoulder is a complex joint that is easily injured by a lack of
stretching or activities that are too aggressive for your conditioning.
The shoulder is a common problem area for older adults. Tight and painful
shoulder joints restrict daily movement and can easily become "frozen"
generally requiring physical therapy. Here is an excellent shoulder
stretch that is easy to learn and works very well.
Towel Stretch: Grab the end of a hand or work-out towel with your right
hand. While holding the towel with your right hand, drape it over your right
shoulder onto your back. Take your left hand behind your back and grab the
other end of the towel. You will need to turn your arm so that your palm
faces away from your back.
Once you have both hands on the towel, try bringing your hands closer to
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.
Breathe as you do this and be gentle with each stretch.
A Beneficial Stretch for the Lower Back
Tight abdominal, hip and leg muscles are responsible for the majority of back
pain. The first and best way to help your back feel better is through
stretching. Here is an excellent back and hip stretch that is easy to
learn and perform.
Good Morning Stretch: The good morning stretch is an effective way
to stretch your abdominal muscles. We use it regularly in our
Posture Perfect!TM classes. Flexible abdominal muscles prevent your back
from overworking. To begin, proceed safely to the floor, first by lying on your
stomach and then rolling onto your back. Keep both legs straight, feet hip
width apart and pointed directly towards the ceiling. Support your head
with a small towel only if your chin feels as if it is lifting excessively towards
Now take your arms, with elbows straight, and bring them directly to your
sides with your palms facing your hips. As you breathe in, point both feet
and toes towards your nose starting a calf stretch. At the same time slowly
bring both arms directly over your shoulders. Keep the shoulders comfortable.
On the breath out, try to stretch your arms back towards the wall behind you
as you also try to slide both heels towards the opposite wall. Hold the stretch
for 6 seconds as you continue to breathe. Feel the strong stretch on your
abdominals, chest and upper back.
Try these stretches on a regular basis and see how much better your back
and shoulders will feel.
Would you like to reduce or alleviate pain and learn to feel better but
are not sure how?
Contact me for a no cost consultation at 703-628-2880 or email to
firstname.lastname@example.org for a personalized review of your situation.
You can also try one of our Posture Perfect!TM classes that alleviate pain,
improve your bone health, posture, balance and strength while reducing
The Skinny on Fats and Oils
by Woody McMahon
Your Body Needs Essential Fats
Have you ever wondered what dry eyes, aching joints and dry skin all
have in common? These are all symptoms of your body being low on fats
and oils. Fats and oils are both essential for good health. They are the building
blocks for many hormones; make-up an important part of the outer layer that
covers the cells of your body; reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and
strengthen your immune system. Balancing and choosing the right kind of
fats can be a little tricky. Also getting enough essential fats from your
diet alone can sometimes be difficult.
Why Low Fat Diets Aren't Healthy
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 making it harder to lose weight and keep yourself
healthy. In many low fat foods, sugar is substituted instead of fat to
improve texture and taste. Being on a low fat diet will tend to make you
overeat. Fat is important in triggering your body's "full sensors" helping
you stop eating more food than you really need. Long term low fat diets
have been shown to create health problems of their own like constant
hunger and dryness of your hair, nails and skin.
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 you 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.
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, Coho, pink and king salmon, Pacific and
Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, and lake trout as well as oysters and
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 in #2 are the preferred sources of omega 3's and omega
6's because they are both the richest sources and contain balanced amounts
of both of the omegas.
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 is a good addition to your total oil intake. Extra virgin
olive oil should not be used for frying because it is extensively damaged by heat.
Adding the oil to foods after they come off the heat is the best choice.
Are you eating in a way that supports rather than opposes your
body? To find out, call me for a no cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or
email to email@example.com and we'll discuss personalized
suggestions that can give you more energy, help you lose some excess
pounds and allow your body to feel better.
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.
Mindfulness Meditation Retreat
Martha Paterson, one of my Posture Perfect!TM students, has
asked me to announce a meditation retreat she and several of her
colleagues are holding in Reston. Meditation helps to relax your
body and mind, reduce the negative effects of stress and
improve your health in many ways.
What: A half day retreat with short meditations suitable for beginning
and experienced students, talks, mindful movement, and practices to take
Who: Meditation teachers - Martha Patterson, Pat Taylor, Steve Zappalla
and with assistance from Mary Ellen Mogee
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Reston 1625 Wiehle Avenue Reston
When: 9AM-12:30 July 26, 2014 Check-in and registration begin at 8:30AM
Why: Pausing with mindfulness practice opens the door to:
- Releasing stress
- Developing presence of mind
- Coping with difficult emotions and situations
- Increasing happiness
For more information please contact Martha Patterson at
Upcoming Events and News
Posture Perfect!TM Class Begins in Arlington, Herndon
Next week a new 8 weeks series of Posture Perfect!TM classes begin. We
have classes at Beth Emeth Congregation and Sequoia Health in Herndon
and Rock Spring Congregational church on Arlington. These classes are
perfect for anyone who is concerned about their posture, balance,
strength and stamina. The exercises that we teach are both safe and
effective if you have a diagnosis of back pain or osteoporosis.
Please wear comfortable clothes and bring 2 towels, one face
and one bath, a bottle of water and an exercise mat if you
To register please contact Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880
or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Art of Wellness: A Health and Healing Fair
The health and wellness fair at Unity of Fairfax was well
attended. We met many new people at the two workshops
and those that stopped by the table to learn more about our
Posture Perfect!TM classes. It was fun and we look forward
to seeing you there next year.
There's No Place Like Home Workshop Series...
Our next regularly scheduled workshop is at:
Congregation Beth Emeth
12523 Lawyers Rd, Herndon, VA 20171
Tuesday 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.
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 for LivMD Program
I have created a new companion back strengthening exercise program to
help anyone using the Marodyne LivMD low intensity vibration machine.
The classes include helpful tips on getting the most from your Marodyne
LivMD as well as exercises that strengthen your back, improve your
posture and increase your balance.
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?
RESERVATIONS are REQUIRED
Please call Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to
email@example.com for more information or to make
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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!"
Click Here to read more about S.A.F.E. and effective Posture Perfect!TM
Continued Good Health,
The Sequoia Advisor
Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Drive
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understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine
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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
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replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult
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Copyright (c) 2006-2014 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
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